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Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash - Analysis
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Kobe Crash
Kobe Crash Analysis N72EX
Flying Into Patchy Fog, Kobe Bryant's Pilot Had a Decision to Make - The New York Times
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:50
The weather was good when the helicopter with nine passengers left Orange County. But as they flew north, it quickly grew worse.
Investigators at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in Calabasas, Calif., on Monday. Credit... Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press Jan. 27, 2020Updated 10:42 p.m. ET
CALABASAS, Calif. '-- The helicopter carrying the basketball legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday morning circled over a golf course in Los Angeles's Griffith Park, awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers to continue its flight into the hills.
The weather 55 miles south in Orange County, where the helicopter had departed less than an hour earlier, had been fine '-- four miles visibility. Mr. Bryant had routinely made the same flight from his home on the coast to the Camarillo airport, near his basketball academy north of Los Angeles.
But now, up ahead, a fog so thick that it nearly blinded drivers on the freeway enveloped the hillsides near their destination. Visibility was so poor that the Los Angeles Police Department had grounded its fleet of helicopters. The pilot had a decision to make, one that might have proved fatal.
Turn around? Begin flying on instruments and head to a safe airport? The pilot, who by all accounts had a sterling safety record and was licensed to fly in inclement weather, kept going.
Sometime after its last contact with air traffic controllers at 9:45 a.m., the aircraft slammed into a hillside at 1,085 feet.
On Monday, investigators were trying to figure out what went wrong, and they emphasized that no possibility, including a mechanical problem, had been ruled out.
''We take a broad look at everything around an investigation, around an accident,'' Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference on Monday afternoon. ''We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.''
The helicopter was not carrying a cockpit voice recorder, and investigators have been searching a debris field of 500 to 600 feet, trying to recover perishable evidence, Ms. Homendy said. Federal officials are not expected to reach a conclusion about the cause of the accident for months.
Asked Monday whether the crash had been survivable, Ms. Homendy replied: ''It was a pretty devastating accident scene.''
Like many celebrities and business tycoons, Mr. Bryant had long moved around Southern California by helicopter to avoid the region's famous traffic. During his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he would often fly to games downtown.
On the day of the crash he was on his way to a special event, a basketball tournament he was coaching at the training camp he had co-founded in Calabasas. On board with him was his daughter Gianna, 13, a star player who many had predicted had a future in the W.N.B.A.
In addition to Mr. Bryant and his daughter, the crash also killed two of her teammates; an assistant coach; the helicopter's pilot; and three other adults, one of whom was a college baseball coach.
The morning flight out of Orange County, close to Mr. Bryant's home on the coast near Newport Beach, was uneventful at first.
When the helicopter reached Burbank, where the foothills rise above the Los Angeles basin, controllers kept the aircraft circling for 12 minutes, clearing other traffic, according to the N.T.S.B. They then issued a special visual clearance for Mr. Bryant's flight to pass through their airspace under less-than-optimal visual conditions. The assumption was that the pilot would maintain legal clearance from clouds, or seek clearance to fly on instruments, after that, a Federal Aviation Administration official said.
But there were no further communications until witnesses called 911 at 9:47 a.m. and reported the sound of whirring blades, broken fiberglass and a massive fire on a hillside.
The fog on Sunday morning near the scene of the crash was ''as thick as swimming in a pool of milk,'' said Scott Daehlin, 61. He was retrieving sound equipment for a Sunday service at his church in Calabasas when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer caused him to look up.
''I couldn't see anything, not even a silhouette,'' he said Monday morning as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose. The grassy slope was littered in wreckage. ''My first thought was, 'What in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?'''
For about 20 seconds, he said, he followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, ''it sounded too low.''
''It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,'' he said. As the son of a pilot, he added, ''I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, 'Get some altitude.'''
Just then, the helicopter went down. He heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.
It turned out that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, who had held a commercial license since 2007, had not obtained a clearance to fly under instrument flight rules, which would have allowed him to navigate with the use of his instruments, officials said.
The special clearance from air traffic controllers allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but it did not give him ''blanket clearance'' to continue on, an F.A.A. official said.
Beyond Burbank's airspace, he was on his own.
''A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,'' said the F.A.A. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.
Once the pilot left Burbank's control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of instruments, which would have required additional F.A.A. clearance.
In an audio recording of the flight's last communications, posted online, an air traffic controller can be heard asking the pilot if he had asked for ''flight following,'' which allows controllers to track the flight and alert pilots to any traffic hazards, under his ''special'' visual flight clearance. The controller, just before losing radio contact, noted that in any case the helicopter was ''too low for flight following at this time.''
Mr. Zobayan, 50, had flown Mr. Bryant before and was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions but also to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their own instrument ratings. He had no accidents or enforcement actions on his record, according to the F.A.A.
Mr. Zobayan learned to fly from Group 3 Aviation, which is based at the Van Nuys airport, in 1998, after taking a sightseeing flight over the Grand Canyon. He later worked as an instructor at Group 3.
Pilots who gathered at the school on Monday declined to give their names but described Mr. Zobayan as an experienced and meticulous operator. They said they were perplexed by the accident.
''Supercautious, supersmart,'' one of the instructors said. ''I can't see him making this kind of mistake.''
Kurt Deetz, a helicopter pilot who once flew for Island Express Helicopters, which operated the aircraft Mr. Bryant was on, described Mr. Zobayan as ''a great guy'' with a ''big smile'' who was ''always laughing.''
He said Mr. Zobayan was an experienced pilot who ''knew the weather patterns'' of greater Los Angeles. He said that the grounding of L.A.P.D. flights does not normally mean that private pilots will cancel their flights. The Police Department, he said, is often overly cautious.
''It's not like, oh the L.A.P.D.'s not flying, we're not flying,'' he said.
Investigators are focusing on the weather as one of the likely causes. But based on eyewitness accounts about the sound of the helicopter and its movements before the crash, investigators have not ruled out mechanical failure.
But some of those who are familiar with the type of aircraft said a mechanical breakdown was an unlikely cause.
''It would have had to be really just a one-in-a-million stroke of bad luck to have had a mechanical problem right when getting into the clouds,'' said Jeff Wise, an aviation expert and pilot who learned to fly in Southern California.
When a pilot enters fog and loses his sense of direction, ''it's a combination of disorientation and mental workload,'' Mr. Wise said. ''You have a small amount of time to make a very important decision.''
Mr. Wise said that pilots by nature want to finish their missions '-- an inclination that he called ''get-there-itis'' that can be heightened when flying a high-profile passenger like Mr. Bryant.
''Pilots are determined to complete their mission and that can be a dangerous mind-set,'' he said. ''And if you've got Kobe Bryant in the back seat you don't want to disappoint.''
Mr. Deetz, the pilot who in the past has flown Mr. Bryant around Los Angeles, said pilots never make decisions based on their passengers' desires. ''The pilot is the final authority for safe operations of the aircraft,'' he said. ''Nobody wants to die.''
In Calabasas, at the church where Mr. Daehlin heard the helicopter, Pastor Bob Bjerkaas said he was leading Sunday school when he also heard it flying over '-- and then the loud crunch.
He said he did not know what had happened until a little later, during the main Sunday service, when he was delivering his sermon on the suffering of Job and the brevity of life. Someone from the congregation who had been looking at the newsfeed on a phone interjected, saying several people had been killed in a helicopter crash, including Kobe Bryant.
''It was a reminder that the time we have is an instant,'' he said, ''and we need to think about what we can do to make our lives matter each day.''
Dave Philipps reported from Calabasas, Calif., Tim Arango from Los Angeles and Louis Keene from Santa Ana, Calif. Alan Blinder contributed reporting from Atlanta.
Kobe Bryant killed in S76 crash - PPRuNe Forums
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:48
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51256756 US basketball legend Kobe Bryant has been killed in a helicopter crash in California, US media report.
Bryant was travelling in a private helicopter when it burst into flames above the city of Calabasas, according to the reports.
The LA County Sheriff's department said that five people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday, with no survivors.
It did not immediately publish any names.
It said it received reports of the crash at about 10:00 local time (18:00 GMT).
Five-time NBA champion Bryant, 41, played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016.
Bryant's achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also two-time NBA scoring champion and a two-time Olympic champion.
He also won an Oscar for best short animated film in 2018 for for Dear Basketball, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he had written in 2015.
Accident Sikorsky S-76B N72EX, 26 Jan 2020
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:50
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.Narrative:A Sikorsky S-76B helicopter impacted hilly terrain in Calabasas, Los Angeles County, California, USA. All five on board have reportedly died.
According to local media, five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant was among those on board.
Sources:
https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/reports-of-plane-crash-in-calabasas-area-authorities-responding/2298383/
https://www.ksby.com/news/national/plane-crash-reported-in-calabasas-california
____________________
https://www.radarbox24.com/data/registration/N72EX
https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/n72ex#23a8271e
https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2020/01/26/19/23899728-7931909-image-a-62_1580067344187.jpg (photo)
Images:
Flight track based on Flightradar24 and Flightaware data.
Revision history:
Date/timeContributorUpdates26-Jan-2020 19:04GenoAdded26-Jan-2020 19:42Captain AdamUpdated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Source, Embed code, Plane category]26-Jan-2020 19:53AerossuranceUpdated [Embed code, Narrative]26-Jan-2020 19:53Captain AdamUpdated [Aircraft type, Damage, Narrative]26-Jan-2020 19:58Anon.Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Embed code]26-Jan-2020 19:59harroUpdated [Operator, Source]26-Jan-2020 20:01Iceman 29Updated [Operator, Source, Embed code, Photo]26-Jan-2020 20:01Iceman 29Updated [Photo]26-Jan-2020 20:02harroUpdated [Operator, Embed code]26-Jan-2020 20:06Iceman 29Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Damage]26-Jan-2020 20:14Iceman 29Updated [Embed code]26-Jan-2020 20:14harroUpdated [Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Embed code, Narrative, Photo]26-Jan-2020 20:17Iceman 29Updated [Embed code]26-Jan-2020 20:28Iceman 29Updated [Embed code]26-Jan-2020 20:42Iceman 29Updated [Embed code]
Kobe Bryant killed in S76 crash - Page 2 - PPRuNe Forums
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 17:42
26th Jan 2020, 21:41
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Wet Coast, Canuckland
Posts: 51
Last moments on FR24 data shows sharp increase in altitude with associated loss of airspeed. Possible flight towards rising terrain in low vis conditions and attempted emergency climb/turn/stall?
26th Jan 2020, 21:44
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Hamiltron, NZ
Posts: 26
Last ping on the FR24 track has the chopper with a ground speed of 153kts descending through 1700'. Crash photo shows debris spread over a fair area. Impact with quite a bit of forward speed, perhaps? CFIT or mechanical? Bloody sad.
26th Jan 2020, 22:07
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Alaska
Posts: 140
Are these aircraft equipped with EGPWS?
26th Jan 2020, 22:17
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Africa
Posts: 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by
CabocloAre these aircraft equipped with EGPWS?
It's not an airliner.
26th Jan 2020, 22:20
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Nashville
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by
CabocloAre these aircraft equipped with EGPWS?
Yes, EGPWS is standard equipment on the S-76D, as is a CVR and FDR.
26th Jan 2020, 22:22
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New York City
Posts: 311
Quote:
Originally Posted by
joemaYes, EGPWS is standard equipment on the S-76D, as is a CVR and FDR.
This wasn't a -D, this was a S76B, from 1991.
Photos of the cockpit in old registration...avionics could have been updated:
https://www.helis.com/database/cn/51524/26th Jan 2020, 22:23
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Arlington, Tx. US
Posts: 590
HaH Many helicopters of that class have EGPWS.
26th Jan 2020, 22:27
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 16
To anyone suggesting "sightseeing" as an explanation for the circles seen on the flight path, I think another possibility could be that they were put into a holding pattern by ATC waiting for traffic to clear. Might be a more probable explanation given the weather.
26th Jan 2020, 22:32
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: VA, USA
Age: 54
Posts: 561
Witnesses on the ground reported the engines ''spluttering'' before the crash
26th Jan 2020, 22:39
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sweden
Age: 52
Posts: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by
hr2pilotLast moments on FR24 data shows sharp increase in altitude with associated loss of airspeed.
You might want to check again which color that is what on FR24...
26th Jan 2020, 22:43
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Africa
Posts: 339
In a press briefing this morning the sheriff stated that 1 pilot plus all 8 pax have perished in this accident. Total 9 fatalities.
26th Jan 2020, 22:48
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,080
Last data points showing sink rate 5000 fpm and 160 kts GS, and erratic GS and VS just prior, that is not a helicopter being flown normally. Actually the data points don't make much sense at all.
26th Jan 2020, 22:56
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New York City
Posts: 311
ATC recordings have them requesting Special VFR after being told multiple en route areas are reporting IFR conditions
26th Jan 2020, 22:58
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: uk
Posts: 1,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by
gulliBellLast data points showing sink rate 5000 fpm and 160 kts GS, and erratic GS and VS just prior, that is not a helicopter being flown normally. Actually the data points don't make much sense at all.
FR24, unreliable with signals in a hilly area. I wouldn't take too much from the info given. What it does show is an increase in speed right at the last moment and a decrease in altitude (dive?) but FR24 cant reliably be taken as real accurate Flight Data info.
If he had a net worth of half a billion dollars, its surprising he was flying around in such an old aircraft. I'd want latest tech and advanced nav/warning systems and maybe 2 crew? Who knows. Each to their own.
26th Jan 2020, 23:01
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Banksville
Posts: 35
How meaningful is request for special VFR?
26th Jan 2020, 23:08
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Age: 50
Posts: 227
9 up in a B model. That's pushing range and CG.
26th Jan 2020, 23:12
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 2,080
It's meaningful because it suggests the weather was unsuitable for visual navigation, and the pilot needed to see where he was going to get to where he wanted to go. Which, I would think, is a more challenging option than changing flight category, turning around, and perform an instrument approach back where you've departed from.
26th Jan 2020, 23:22
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ventura, California
Posts: 254
Liveatc Hold and request Special VFR through BUR and VNY
https://forums.liveatc.net/index.php...0;attach=10604 References to 5, 134, 118, 405, and 101 are Freeways.
101 runs from Van Nuys westward past crash site to Camarillo, the apparent destination.
Last edited by thcrozier; 26th Jan 2020 at 23:32 .
26th Jan 2020, 23:23
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: SNA
Posts: 10
I live about 80 miles/130km SE from the crash site, but the terrain and microclimates are similar. I was mountain biking and there was a low-lying fog layer about 100-200 feet thick, with a broken around 3000-5000 feet (my estimate). Another mountain biker and IFR-rated pilot was interviewed. He was first on the crash scene and said there was very dense fog with 3-4 feet of viz. They heard the S76 just before and during impact but did not see it. However, witnesses in the general area (I know those accounts turn out inaccurate) saw the helo "falter" and "sputter", and then steeply descend. So there seemed to be good visibility elsewhere. The coastal scud in that area blows in from the west along Hwy 101 and hugs low-lying terrain. My very early speculation- they were VFR on top over a patchy ground fog layer in the canyon. A mechanical issue forced a descent into IFR and terrain.
26th Jan 2020, 23:24
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Dallas
Posts: 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by
gulliBellLast data points showing sink rate 5000 fpm and 160 kts GS, and erratic GS and VS just prior, that is not a helicopter being flown normally. Actually the data points don't make much sense at all.
Proving, for the umpteenth time, that FR24 ground, altitude, and airspeed traces are not always reliable for interpreting the actions of an aircraft prior to a crash.
Kobe Bryant's Brilliant and Complicated Legacy - The New York Times
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 23:12
Kobe Bryant, who made the leap directly from high school to a glittering 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers that established him as one of basketball's all-time greats, was among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday north of Los Angeles. Bryant was 41.
The crash also killed Gianna Bryant, 13, the second oldest of Kobe Bryant's four daughters with his wife, Vanessa. They were traveling from the family's base in Orange County, Calif., to Thousand Oaks, 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. A budding star herself, Gianna was scheduled to play an afternoon game with her travel team, coached by her father, at Kobe Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy.
News of Bryant's death predictably rocked the N.B.A., which is filled with players who grew up watching Bryant as he won five championships with the Lakers and scored 81 points in a single game. Fueled by a seemingly endless reservoir of self-confidence, Bryant was an mammoth figure almost from the moment he arrived, at age 17, as the 13th overall pick in the 1996 N.B.A. draft.
The son of the former N.B.A. player Joe ''Jellybean'' Bryant, Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets on behalf of the Lakers and did not try '-- at all '-- to hide his ambition to surpass the accomplishments of the legendary Michael Jordan. Charlotte had agreed going into the draft to trade Bryant's rights to Los Angeles in exchange for the veteran center Vlade Divac.
Image Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna at the Lakers' championship celebration in 2009. Credit... Jae C. Hong/Associated Press Over the next 20 seasons, Bryant earned 18 All-Star selections, a regular-season Most Valuable Player Award in 2008 and two N.B.A. finals M.V.P. awards to go with his five championship rings. Amid all of that, a sexual assault allegation against him in 2003 would change how many people saw Bryant, though he remained hugely popular among N.B.A. fans and especially Angelenos, for whom he increasingly became synonymous with the Lakers '-- the only team, despite a trade demand in 2007, that Bryant ever played for.
The trade that made Bryant a Laker was engineered by the team's general manager at the time, Jerry West, who was instantly smitten by Bryant's fearlessness and prodigious talent. A standout at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa., outside Philadelphia, Bryant had auditioned for the Lakers in a predraft workout featuring a series of one-on-one drills against the former Lakers defensive ace Michael Cooper, then a 40-year-old assistant coach.
Only a few high schoolers had gone straight to the N.B.A. at that point '-- and Bryant would be the first guard to do so. But West left the workout early, declaring that he had seen enough. ''He's better than anybody on our team right now,'' West famously told fellow Lakers staffers of Bryant's performance.
As West envisioned, Bryant indeed helped restore the Lakers to glory '-- albeit with no shortage of turmoil along the way. He did so first alongside the Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal for three consecutive drama-filled N.B.A. championships in the 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons, then as the team's unquestioned fulcrum for two more titles in 2008-09 and 2009-10. With a drive to rival Jordan's and an ability to tune out critics who at times assailed his ball dominance and shot selection, Bryant was the central and enduring figure in one of the most gripping soap operas in modern professional team sports.
By the time he walked away from the N.B.A. in April 2016, after an unforgettable 60-point farewell game against the Utah Jazz, Bryant had built an unmatched legacy that persuaded the Lakers to retire both jersey numbers he wore over two 10-season stretches: No. 8 and No. 24. In perhaps the ultimate Bryant flourish, that 60-point game on the final day of the 2015-16 regular season '-- in which he hoisted 50 shots '-- upstaged the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who had defeated the Memphis Grizzlies on the same night to secure the best single-season record in league history, 73-9.
Bryant is widely expected to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in late August, the first time he is eligible. He led the league in scoring twice and finished his career with 33,643 points in the regular season, which put him at No. 3 among N.B.A.'s scoring leaders, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) until the Lakers' LeBron James passed Bryant on Saturday night in Philadelphia.
Bryant tweeted his congratulations to James on Saturday night, some 15 hours before the crash, writing: ''Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother.''
As Bryant began his climb up the scoring charts, O'Neal nicknamed the brash teenager ''Showboat,'' but the term was not meant to flatter. Veterans on that Lakers team tried in vain to keep Bryant's rookie ambitions modest '-- with O'Neal particularly determined to make it clear that he was the team's true alpha.
But Bryant could not be harnessed. After some notable playoff failures, Bryant broke through as a champion in his fourth season, forming a devastating partnership with O'Neal under the coaching tutelage of Phil Jackson.
''Kobe didn't care about night life or anything else,'' Del Harris, who coached Bryant for his first two N.B.A. seasons and the start of his third, told The New York Times in December 2017. ''He only had one interest. His only focus was to be the best that he could be. And in his mind that meant challenging Michael Jordan.''
''People can argue,'' Harris continued, ''how close he actually came, but there's no question that he fulfilled pretty much all of his dreams.''
Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006 to register the second-highest scoring output in league history, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. But Bryant's reputation was more complicated than all his accolades would suggest.
He was charged with felony sexual assault in 2003 stemming from an incident at a Colorado hotel in which Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman who worked at the property as a front-desk clerk. Prosecutors eventually dropped the case when the woman told them she was unwilling to testify. Bryant later issued an apology, saying he understood that the woman, unlike himself, did not view their encounter as consensual. A lawsuit the woman brought against Bryant was later settled out of court.
In the closing stages of Bryant's career, well beyond the days of ''Showboat,'' Bryant began giving himself nicknames, such as ''Black Mamba'' and, later, ''Vino.'' The frequent helicopter rides he took to games at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles '-- to avoid traffic and maximize time at home '-- only added to his mystique.
In addition to making his name as one of the sport's most relentless competitors, Bryant was known for a special ability to play through injuries.
The one that managed to stop him was a torn left Achilles' tendon late in the 2012-13 season. Of course, stubborn as he was, Bryant did not want to accept the on-court diagnosis he received from Gary Vitti, the longtime Lakers athletic trainer.
''I told him it's ruptured and he's done,'' Vitti told The Times in December 2017. ''He said, 'Can't you just tape it up?'''
Given the intense focus that governed Bryant's playing career, many league observers questioned how he would cope outside the game, without an outlet for his uber-competitiveness. But Bryant was flourishing in retirement, entering the world of storytelling and winning an Academy Award by transforming a poem to announce his retirement into an animated short film (''Dear Basketball'') that he wrote and narrated.
He had also been drawn back to the N.B.A. by his daughter Gianna's love for it. On Dec. 29, Bryant sat with her courtside at Staples Center to watch the Lakers play the Dallas Mavericks and take pictures afterward with Luka Doncic, the Mavericks' young Slovenian star.
''My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone,'' Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame Lakers guard and Bryant's boyhood hero, wrote on Twitter. ''It's hard to accept.''
Kobe Bryant's Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser's Story, and the Half-Confession
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 23:01
On April 13, Kobe Bean Bryant will don his Lakers jersey for the last time. And during this, his 20th and final NBA season, Bryant has received an extended valediction fit for a king, replete with a plethora of celebrations, movie star-commercials, and unanimous praise from basketball stars past and present. His professional r(C)sum(C) is, of course, indisputable. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 12-time member of the All-Defensive team, and 5-time NBA champion. He will go down as the second-best shooting guard in NBA history'--behind His Airness'--and one of the Top 20 players to ever set foot on the hardwood. But when taking into account the entire breadth of Bryant's tenure in the spotlight, the personal and professional, there will always be one giant question mark, one disturbing episode that gives even the most ardent admirers of the Black Mamba considerable pause: the rape case.
The Kobe Bryant rape case has, in the annals of popular culture, been reduced to something of a punchline due to the aftermath'--namely, Bryant's $4 million, 8-carat purple diamond apology ring that he gifted to his wife, Vanessa. But what exactly transpired on the night of June 30, 2003, at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, in Colorado, may always be a mystery. Despite being charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment'--facing life in prison'--and tearfully confessing to committing adultery with his 19-year-old accuser, Bryant's case never made it to trial. On Sept. 1, 2004, one week before opening statements were to be made, the case was dismissed after the accuser, who had been dragged through the mud for months by the media and Bryant's defense team, informed the court that she would not testify. The woman had filed a separate civil suit against Bryant, and had agreed to dismissal of the sexual assault charge against him provided the athlete issue the following apology to his accuser, which was read in court by Bryant's attorney:
First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colo.I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.
The accuser's civil suit against Bryant was ultimately settled in March 2005, and terms of the settlement were undisclosed (the total amount civil juries in Colorado could award at the time was $2.5 million). And the accuser, it should be noted, came from a wealthy family.
The Daily Beast has reviewed the legal and court documents of the Kobe Bryant rape case, including testimony from the accuser, then 19, and Bryant, then 27, which shed some light on what may have happened that night.
''Last night I was at work and I was sexually assaulted.'' So begins the accuser's version of the events that took place the night of June 30, 2003, according to the police transcript of an interview taken with her the following day by Detective Winters and Deputy Rich of the Eagle County Sheriff's Office in Eagle, Colorado.
The accuser, who is white, said she arrived late to work at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, a resort in Edwards, Colorado'--between Eagle and Vail'--at around 2 p.m. on June 30. At around 4 p.m., she said she received a call from a travel agent checking in on a reservation for ''Javier Rodriguez,'' and the agent ''divulged the information to me that it was actually Mr. Bryant. And that it was very important that we got him and his two companions a room. So, there were three rooms all together.'' The other rooms were being held under the names ''Joe Carlson'' and ''Mike Ortiz,'' who were in Bryant's entourage. The accuser, who worked at the front desk, was scheduled to be off at 7 p.m., but told officers she stayed later because ''I was excited to meet Kobe Bryant,'' and that she ''was trying to make up the extra hours'' that she missed by not getting to work on time (her work day was supposed to begin at 11 a.m.).''They showed up around 9:45, 10:00. I met Mr. Ortiz um, met Mr. Bryant and they asked me to escort him to his room,'' she told police. When they got to the room, she says, Bryant made a request: ''Mr. Bryant asked me, kinda in private if I would come back in 15 minutes and give him a tour of the hotel. And I said that I would.''
The accuser says she returned to his room around 10:30 p.m., and then showed Bryant the resort's on-site facilities, including the spa, exercise, room, outdoor pool, and outdoor Jacuzzi. She claims the tour portion was witnessed by Bob Pietrack, the bellman and a high school friend of the accuser. Then, the two allegedly returned to Bryant's room, sat down, and talked.
''We were talking and [Bryant] asked me to open the Jacuzzi for him,'' she told police. ''I told him that my shift was over and I was gonna go home. He proceeded to try and convince me to come back in fifteen minutes, which I told him I would just so I could get out of there and then I was just gonna leave and not come back. Um, I stood up to leave, he stood up, asked me to give him a hug. I gave him a hug and he started kissing me and I let him kiss me. And the kissing continued then he took off his pants. And that's when I tried to back up and leave. And that's when he started to choke me.''
Asked by police what she was thinking at the time, she responded, ''I was thinking that his actions were getting physical, and that I wanted to get out of the room.'' She estimates the kissing lasted for five minutes, and that that part was consensual. What happened after, she says, was not. ''He started, um, groping me, I guess I'd say,'' she told officers. ''Putting his hands on me, grabbing my butt, my chest. Trying to lift up my skirt. Proceeded to take off his own pants. Trying to grab my hand and make me touch him.'' ''I told him once that I needed to leave,'' she added. ''He didn't say anything. If he did [hear me] he didn't make any gestures or anything that would let me know that he did.''
At this point, the accuser told police that Bryant began to get rough with her: ''When he took off his pants that's when I started to kinda back up, and try to push his hands off me and that's when he started to choke me. He wasn't choking me enough that I couldn't breathe, just choking me to the point that I was scared.''
Bryant then, she told police, began ''grabbing and rubbing'' her vagina over her panties. That lasted ''two to three minutes, and during that time I was trying to uh, pull away.'' Then, she says, he grabbed her neck with both arms. She claims that she didn't say anything to him at this time, but he knew she was trying to leave ''because I kept trying to back away and move towards the door.''
According to the accuser, Bryant put his body between her and the door. ''I try and walk to the side, and he would walk to the side with me. And that's when he started to put his hands on my neck,'' she said, adding, ''He was groping me, I tried to leave, tried to break away, that's when he grabbed my neck. And at that point I was just looking at him, didn't know what to do, didn't know what to say.''
''Then he held me by my neck and physically forced me over to the side of the couch,'' she continued. ''That's when he continually had one hand around my neck and with his other hand pushed me over to the side of the two chairs um, turned me around and bent me over and lifted up my skirt.'' She told police that ''at that point I was just kinda scared and I said no a few times,'' adding she said no ''when he lifted up my skirt'' and again ''when he took off my underwear.''
When asked by police how she knew Bryant had heard her, she replied, ''Because every time I said no he tightened his hold around me.''
The accuser said that, with one arm still around her neck, Bryant ''would lean his face real close to me and ask me questions.'' The question: ''You're not gonna tell anybody right.'' ''I said no. And he didn't hear me or asked me to say it louder. Wanted me to turn around and look at him while I said it,'' she told police. She said that Bryant asked her the question ''three or four'' times, and her response every time was ''no'' because ''I was scared that if I told him yes, I'm gonna tell somebody, I'm gonna get out of here now, that he would become more physical with me. Or try harder to keep me in there.'' ''And then,'' she said, ''he lifted up my skirt, took off my underwear and, and came inside me.'' She continued: ''That's when he kept coming inside me and then he leaned his face toward mine and asked me if I liked it when a guy came on my face, I said no. Then he was like what did you say. Grabbed and like tightened his hold on my neck, I said no. He said he was gonna do it anyway. And then at that point I got a little bit more aggressive with him and tried to release his hands from my neck. And he was still behind me and at that point he's still choking me, I was not trying as hard as I could of to get away, but I was still trying.''
The penetration, she told police, lasted about ''five minutes,'' during which time she was crying, saying that the crying began, ''When he was coming inside, or started having sex with me.'' During the sex, Bryant reportedly said, ''I like Vail, Colorado.''
''When I started to get a little bit more aggressive, tried harder to get away, that's when he stopped,'' she said. ''I stood up and turned around and he forced me to stay in the room until I had calmed down a little bit. Made me fix my hair and wash my face.''
Afterwards, she told officers that Bryant issued her a warning. ''[This] is just between the two, the two of us nobody is gonna know about this, you're not going to tell anybody. Not asking me just telling me.''
Bryant's version of the events differed from the accuser's. He was questioned by police at around 11:30 p.m. the day after the alleged sexual assault at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera.
''Um, she showed me around the pool, showing me around, um, we went to my room, she showed me the back view where the bears come up to the window, and that's about fucking it, we shot the shit and that was it,'' Bryant told police. He then denied three times that anything had happened with the woman to police, and when informed that the accuser had made an allegation of sexual assault against him, told the officers, ''Is there any way I can settle this whatever it is, I mean'...?'' asked Bryant. ''If my wife, if my wife found out that anybody made any type of allegations against me she would be infuriated.''
When police informed him that the accuser had submitted to a physical exam and they'd taken semen and blood evidence from her person, Bryant admitted that the two had sex. ''Uh, this is what I need to know because uh, I did have sexual intercourse with her,'' said Bryant, adding, ''It was totally consensual.''
Bryant told the officers that when he and the accuser got back to the room, she showed him her back tattoo and then kissed him, and they began to kiss. When the officers asked Bryant whether she said no or resisted, Bryant replied, ''Okay. I'm thinking, I'm thinking, I'm thinking. (Pause.) I'm trying to think of the conversation we had.''
He admitted that he ''held [the accuser] from the back'' and that the sex lasted ''about five minutes.''
The officers then asked Bryant, ''Did you ever ask her if you wanted, if you could cum in her face?'' ''Yes,'' Bryant replied, adding, ''That's when she said no. That's when she said no. That's when she said no.''
Bryant contended that the woman gave him oral sex for approximately ''five seconds'' prior to the sex, and that everything was ''consensual.''
At one point, when police described the accuser as ''attractive,'' Bryant corrected them. ''She wasn't that attractive,'' said Bryant. Then, when officers asked him about ''finishing,'' he replied, ''I didn't finish a fucking thing,'' adding, ''I jerked off when she left.'' When asked by officers if he'd ever cheated on his wife before, Bryant replied, ''Um, yes, with one other person. And she could actually testify I do that um, I do the same thing, I hold her from the back, I put my hands (inaudible).'' ''Her name is Michelle,'' continued Bryant, adding she's a ''frequent'' partner of his.
Police then inform Bryant that the accuser ''has a bruise on her neck,'' to which he replied, ''Yeah I mean that's you know me and Michelle, that's what we, we do the same thing,'' said Bryant. When officers ask Bryant how often he has sex with ''Michelle,'' he replies, ''A lot. She'll tell you the same shit.''
In a supplemental police report, Detective Winters described a strange encounter with Bryant in which he hurled a T-shirt containing semen into the officer's face. The accuser's name is redacted.
''During our conversation with Bryant, we asked him since he didn't ejaculate in [redacted] if he ejaculated later. Bryant stated he did,'' read Det. Winters' report. ''We asked Bryant where did he ejaculate. He stated he ejaculated onto a white t-shirt after [redacted] left. We asked Bryant if we could have that t-shirt. He agreed. I remember Detective Loya following Bryant into Bryant's room and I followed them. I did not see where Bryant got the t-shirt from. However, Bryant stated that the t-shirt he was holding was the t-shirt he ejaculated into. He then threw the t-shirt at me. I told Bryant not to throw it at me because I would come pick it up in a safe location. I caught the t-shirt around the neck region. Bryant told me he didn't 'shoot it' that far up. Meaning he didn't ejaculate that far up the t-shirt.''
And in another supplemental report in Bryant's case file, he chose to invoke Shaquille O'Neal's name during the investigation'--for reasons unclear.
According to the police report, while he was being questioned by the officers about the alleged sexual assault, Bryant said, ''I should have done what Shaq does,'' adding, ''Shaq gives them money or buys them cars, he has already spent one million dollars.'' The report added, ''Kobe stated that Shaq does this to keep the girls quiet.''
On July 12, Bryant issued his first statement about the case to the Los Angeles Times, saying, ''When everything comes clean, it will all be fine, you'll see. But you guys know me, I shouldn't have to say anything. You know I would never do something like that.'' Four days later, he made his first public appearance since the allegations emerged, walking the red carpet with his wife Vanessa at the ESPY Awards at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. And on July 18, after he was formally charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment, Bryant held a news conference where, with his wife by his side, he contested the charges against him.
''I didn't force her to do anything against her will. I'm innocent,'' he said. ''I sit here in front of you guys furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery.''
During the preliminary hearing, Detective Winters testified that the accuser had been examined the day after the alleged assault by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) at the Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
''[The nurse] stated that there were several lacerations to the victim's posterior fourchette or vaginal area, and two of those lacerations were approximately one centimeter in length,'' testified Det. Winters. ''And there were many, I believe, 2 millimeter lacerations. Too many to count'... [The nurse] stated that the injuries were consistent with penetrating genital trauma. That it's not consistent with consensual sex.''
Detective Winters further stated that the nurse told him the vaginal injuries had most likely occurred within ''24 hours,'' and that the accuser had ''a small bruise on her left jaw line.'' Also, that examiners had found ''blood excretions'' on Bryant's T-shirt ''to about the waistline.'' The blood, testified Det. Winters, had ''the same DNA profile as the victim in this case.''
Bryant's defense team, on the other hand, brought up the accuser's past sexual history. The accuser stated that she'd had consensual sex on June 27 or 28, and when the panties she wore to her medical exam the following day were tested, they found semen and a hair follicle that did not belong to Bryant. These were, for clarification purposes, a separate pair of panties she put on and wore to her exam'--not the panties from the night in question, which were collected and tested separately'--and the accuser claimed she'd accidentally put on a pair of dirty panties for the exam. Bryant's defense team claimed that the vaginal trauma suffered by the accuser could have been from having ''multiple partners'' in a short time span, though Det. Winters had testified that a nurse told him the injuries had likely occurred in the past 24 hours.
Furthermore, Bryant's defense team focused on how the accuser admitted she was ''excited'' to meet Bryant'--allegedly requesting an autograph of him prior to the alleged sexual assault'--and called the accuser's mental state into question. Authorities claimed that Bryant's accuser had been hospitalized four months prior to the alleged sexual assault, and when campus police arrived to her dormitory at the University of Northern Colorado, they determined she was ''a danger to herself.'' A former friend of the accuser's, who said she'd lived with the woman before they had a falling out, told authorities that the accuser had tried to commit suicide twice before the alleged sexual assault by attempting to overdose on sleeping pills, reported the Associated Press.
We may never know what happened in that hotel room between Kobe Bryant and his accuser. But we do know that in the wake of the rape case, after losing endorsement campaigns with McDonald's and Nutella, and being benched by Nike, Bryant resumed his status as lucrative pitchman in July 2005, when Nike began using photos of the athlete for the first time since the assault allegation.
Of the decision to bring Bryant back into the fold, Nike spokesman Rodney Knox told USA Today, ''Nike agrees with most NBA observers that Kobe ranks among the very best players in the NBA.''
Journalist suspended for tweet on Kobe Bryant 2003 rape case | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:30
A Washington Post journalist has been suspended by the newspaper after she tweeted a link on Sunday to a years-old story about the Kobe Bryant rape case just hours after the basketball legend and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash.
Felicia Sonmez, who covers national politics for the Post, took to Twitter shortly after the world learned of Bryant's death along with eight others aboard his private helicopter which crashed outside of Los Angeles.
She posted a link to an April 2016 story from the news site The Daily Beast which carried the headline: 'Kobe Bryant's Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser's Story, and the Half-Confession.'
The tweet generated hundreds of shares and thousands of likes as well as many comments.
Sonmez says she has received death threats after posting the tweets.
In follow-up tweets, Sonmez wrote: 'Well, THAT was eye-opening.
Felicia Sonmez, a national political reporter for The Washington Post, angered Kobe Bryant fans on social media on Sunday
Hours after it was learned that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people who were killed in a helicopter crash, Sonmez tweeted a link to a 2016 story about the 2003 rape accusations against the basketball legend
In follow-up tweets, Sonmez writes: 'Well, THAT was eye-opening. To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story - which was written 3+ years ago, and not by me. Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling'
Bryant (seen above in Eagle County Justice Center in Eagle, Colorado, in January 2004) was arrested and charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment after a 19-year-old woman alleged he raped her in a local hotel room
'To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story - which was written 3+ years ago, and not by me.
'Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling.'
Sonmez continued: 'That folks are responding with rage and threats toward me (someone who didn't even write the piece but found it well-reported) speaks volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases.'
In another follow-up tweet, Sonmez wrote: 'As an addendum: Hard to see what's accomplished by messages such as these.
'If your response to a news article is to resort to harassment and intimidation of journalists, you might want to consider that your behavior says more about you than the person you're targeting.'
Sonmez deleted the tweets due to the overwhelming backlash, but others on Twitter screengrabbed the posts and responded with disgust.
Sonmez was placed on administrative leave by The Washington Post, the newspaper's managing editor, Tracy Grant, told DailyMail.com
The reaction on Twitter from Bryant fans was so severe that the hashtag #FireFeliciaSonmez was trending.
Tracy Grant, managing editor of The Washington Post, told DailyMail.com on Sunday: 'National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom's social media policy.
'The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues.'
On Twitter, reaction to Sonmez's tweet was scathing.
'What a disgusting post from Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez immediately after Kobe Bryant and his daughter's death,' tweeted one Twitter user.
Reaction on Twitter was scathing, with some viewers referring to Sonmez as 'garbage'
Twitter users slammed Sonmez for the timing of her tweet, which was posted hours after it was learned that Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles
One Twitter user called Sonmez a 'heartless reporter' for posting the tweet when she did
Another Twitter user demanded that Sonmez post messages like the one posted by former President Barack Obama
Another Twitter user referred to Sonmez as a 'garbage human' on Sunday
'Are y'all trying to get him to pay for his 'crimes' in the afterlife?' one Twitter user asked
Another Twitter user wrote: 'It takes immense skill and stupidity to find a way to play the victim, in a moment where 9 people lost their lives in a helicopter crash.
'Again, delete your account.'
One Twitter user demanded: 'Hey @washingtonpost , do the right thing and show the world that irresponsible journalism is unacceptable.'
Another Twitter user wrote: 'There's a time & place for everything. Bringing up dirt on someone that just died only a few hours ago is neither the time or place. Felicia is a f***ing disgrace to her profession.'
Wrote another Twitter user: 'Whether it was written by you doesn't matter. It was YOUR boneheaded decision to repost it within hours of his death. You're slime.'
Another Twitter user wrote: 'Here's an idea for @washingtonpost...Send Felicia to Wunan [sic], China as a permanent resident reporter to cover that region. Like next flight out immediately.'
That Twitter post referred to Wuhan, the city in China where a new strand of coronavirus has broken out and spread to other parts of the country and the world, infecting thousands.
At least one Twitter user, however, sympathized with Sonmez, writing: 'The minutes someone passes people try to completely erase their wrongdoings'
'The age and status of the others who unfortunately passed do not negate his crimes and homphobia,' wrote one Twitter user
Bryant was accused of rape in 2003 by a 19-year-old employee at a Colorado hotel prior to a scheduled knee surgery.
Although he denied the charges, which were dropped when the accuser refused to testify, Bryant did admit to cheating on his wife Vanessa and reportedly settled a civil suit with the alleged victim.
Terms of the agreement were never released.
Bryant, who was 27 years old at the time, was arrested and charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment - crimes which could have landed him in prison for the rest of his life.
The accuser agreed to drop the charges on condition that Bryant issue a formal apology in court. Bryant accepted the terms and had his lawyer read the apology.
Sonmez posted a link to an article by The Daily Beast which included details about the alleged rape, including statements to police made by the accuser.
She told investigators that after she gave a tour of the lodge to Bryant, he cornered her in his room and started choking her.
'We were talking and [Bryant] asked me to open the Jacuzzi for him,' she told police.
'I told him that my shift was over and I was gonna go home.
'He proceeded to try and convince me to come back in fifteen minutes, which I told him I would just so I could get out of there and then I was just gonna leave and not come back.
'Um, I stood up to leave, he stood up, asked me to give him a hug. I gave him a hug and he started kissing me and I let him kiss me.
'And the kissing continued then he took off his pants. And that's when I tried to back up and leave. And that's when he started to choke me.'
The accuser then told police that Bryant started to grope her.
'[He started] [p]utting his hands on me, grabbing my butt, my chest,' she said.
'Trying to lift up my skirt. Proceeded to take off his own pants.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday
'Trying to grab my hand and make me touch him.'
She continued: 'I told him once that I needed to leave.
'He didn't say anything. If he did [hear me] he didn't make any gestures or anything that would let me know that he did.'
The accuser then told police that Bryant started to get rough with her.
'When he took off his pants that's when I started to kinda back up, and try to push his hands off me and that's when he started to choke me,' she said.
'He wasn't choking me enough that I couldn't breathe, just choking me to the point that I was scared.'
Bryant then allegedly started 'grabbing and rubbing' her vagina over her panties for 'two to three minutes, and during that time I was trying to uh, pull away.'
The woman alleged that Bryant then used force to pin her against two chairs.
He then 'lifted up my skirt, took off my underwear and, and came inside me.'
The woman alleges the vaginal penetration lasted 'five minutes' during that time she says she was crying.
When police asked her when she began crying, she said: 'When he was coming inside, or started having sex with me.'
The woman told police that Bryant warned her not to reveal what happened.
She said: '[This] is just between the two, the two of us nobody is gonna know about this, you're not going to tell anybody.
'Not asking me just telling me.'
Bryant denied raping the woman. He told police the sex was consensual.
Initially, however, he denied there was any sexual contact.
'Um, she showed me around the pool, showing me around, um, we went to my room, she showed me the back view where the bears come up to the window, and that's about f***ing it, we shot the s*** and that was it,' Bryant told police.
When he was told that the woman alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Bryant, he told the officers: 'Is there any way I can settle this whatever it is, I mean'...?'
Bryant told police: 'If my wife, if my wife found out that anybody made any type of allegations against me she would be infuriated.'
According to the report, Bryant admitted to having sex with the woman, but denied the assault.
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (pictured together in December) and seven others were killed when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning
A detective testified in a preliminary hearing that the accuser underwent an examination at a local hospital.
'[The nurse] stated that there were several lacerations to the victim's posterior fourchette or vaginal area, and two of those lacerations were approximately one centimetre in length,' testified Detective Doug Winters of the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.
'And there were many, I believe, 2 millimetre lacerations. Too many to count'...
'[The nurse] stated that the injuries were consistent with penetrating genital trauma.
'That it's not consistent with consensual sex.'
Winters also testified that the nurse told him the vaginal injuries took place within '24 hours' of the woman undergoing the exam.
Investigators also found 'blood excretions' on Bryant's t-shirt 'to about the waistline.'
Winters testified that the blood found on his shirt 'had the same DNA profile as the victim in this case.'
Bryant's lawyers, however, said that the accuser had a troubled past, pointing out that she had been hospitalised as a 'danger to herself' four months before the alleged sexual assault.
Lindsey McKinney, who lived with accuser before the two had a falling out, said her friend tried to kill herself at school at least twice.
She said the woman tried to overdose on sleeping pills.
Eventually, the accuser agreed to have the charges dropped after Bryant's lawyer read an apology in court.
The alleged assault took place in the Cordillera Lodge & Spa (pictured on a hill side above Edwards) on June 30, 2003
The charges against Bryant were eventually dropped after he agreed to the accuser's demand to read an apology in court. The two sides also settled a civil lawsuit filed by the accuser. Bryant is seen above following his arrest in Colorado in July 2003
The apology read: 'First, I want to apologise directly to the young woman involved in this incident.
'I want to apologise to her for my behaviour that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year.
'Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure.
'I also want to apologise to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colorado.
'I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman.
'No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case.
'Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.
'After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.
'I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains.
'I understand that the civil case against me will go forward.
'That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.'
N72EX N761LL N9UT Sikorsky S-76B C/N 760379
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:25
Sikorsky S-76B This model is a version of S-76Helicopter Sikorsky S-76B Serial 760379 Register N72EX N761LL N9UT used by State of Illinois Sikorsky Helicopters. Built 1991. Aircraft history and location
ID New Layout N9UT Sikorsky Helicopters Sikorsky S-76B 1991 N761LL State of Illinois 2007 Springfield State Of Illinois Jan01-Sep15, VIP Governorairframe total time 3951 hoursDec14 in State of Illinois Online Auction, (pic1 to pic4) N72EX Island Express Holding Corp at Van Nuys, CA from Sep15 N72EX 2016 Long Beach (pic5) at Long Beach, CA N72EX 26jan20 Santa Ana John Wayne Orange County accident w/o impacted hilly terrain 1m SW Calabasas, Los Angeles County, California. 9 fatalities, including five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant and daughter N72EX w/o 26jan20 crashed in Calabasas, California, Killing 9 People on board. Among those killed were NBA Legend and Champion Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter Gianna N72EX Appears to be confirmed, N72EX crashed into a hill in limited visability. Flying with Special VFR clearance. Indications are that aircraft was at 2200' before initiating 180 degree turn south and impacted hills after loosing altitude at or below 1300'. 9 people on board, all died. Kobe Bryant. Info based on media and public flight data.
Here are those killed in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash - Los Angeles Times
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 23:54
Payton, left, and her mother, Sarah, were two of the nine victims who died in Sunday's helicopter crash.
(Courtesy of the Chester family.)
Mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester were among the nine victims of the plane crash.
The Chester family expressed their devastation in a statement shared via St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, where Payton was a student.
''Sarah and Payton were the lights of our family,'' the statement said. ''Payton had a smile and personality that would light any room, and a passion for the game of basketball. She found joy on any court and loved all of her teammates and coaches. Sarah was full of life and the glue of our family. She was a tireless force in support of her family. The love we feel from so many today is a testament to the community she created for us. Our prayers and condolences go out to the Bryant, Altobelli, and Mauser families. We were all blessed to be a part of Team Mamba, and we will always remember the fun and love that we all shared. We also send our prayers and condolences to the Zobayan family.''
Todd Schmidt, former principal of Harbor View Elementary, shared the news of their deaths on Facebook, alongside photos of a beaming Payton.
''While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important ... their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken,'' he wrote. ''You were both the embodiment of #hvepride, and the world is just a little less without you both in it. May you both Rest In Peace and know the deep impact you had on our lives. You will be so sorely missed.''
Payton attended Harbor View from kindergarten through fifth grade, according to posts shared on Facebook.
On Instagram, Payton's brother Riley shared a photo of his mother and sister that paid tribute to his family.
''Rest In Peace to the most amazing Mother and sister. I love you Pay Pay and Mom RIP''¤¸''¤¸,'' he wrote.
Officials with Newport-Mesa Unified School District expressed sadness over the loss of those who died in the plane crash but refrained from commenting further on specifics surrounding the victims.
''There are no words to describe the unthinkable pain than many families are facing as a result of this incident. Our school community has been impacted by this tragedy and we have mobilized specialized support teams to assist our schools through the grief that a loss like this can cause,'' public relations officer Annette Franco said. ''Out of respect for those impacted, we will not be sharing any additional information.''
Sarah Chester's Facebook page is filled with photos of her family of five at the beach and dressed up for holiday celebrations and family vacations. In several, Payton stands smiling between her twin brothers, wearing a school uniform or beach attire. In one, she's dressed up as the Dr. Seuss character the Cat in the Hat, with a brother on each side dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2.
A representative of Tustin Memorial Academy in Santa Ana said Sarah Chester previously worked at the school as a teacher and had left to dedicate more time to her family.
Lainie Johnson-Mann, the mother of one of Sarah Chester's former students, described her as a proud mom who dedicated herself to her children.
''Family was her world,'' she said.
Chester taught Johnson-Mann's son Travis, 27, when he was in kindergarten. The news left the family reeling.
''The world lost a beloved athlete and a basketball star. But in our world, the people that knew Sarah lost far more,'' she said.
In a statement Monday, the city of Newport Beach named each of the nine victims.
''As information was released throughout Sunday on additional victims of the Calabasas helicopter accident, tragedy was compounded upon tragedy as it became clear that other beloved and respected members of the Newport Beach and Orange County communities were traveling with Kobe and Gianna Bryant. We wish to extend our deepest, deepest condolences to the families, friends, and neighbors of John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Christina Mauser, as well as Sarah Chester, [Payton] Chester and pilot Ara Zobayan during this devastating time.''
'-- Colleen Shalby
Wuhan Flu
China Pig Ebola is a double whammy
WHO Has Admitted an Error in Its Assessment of Wuhan Coronavirus Risk
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:54
DARIO THUBURN, AFP
28 JAN 2020
The World Health Organization, which has sometimes been criticised for its handling of past disease outbreaks, admitted an error on Monday in its risk assessment of China's deadly virus.
The Geneva-based UN agency said in a situation report late Sunday that the risk was "very high in China, high at the regional level and high at the global level."
In a footnote, the WHO explained that it had stated "incorrectly" in its previous reports on Thursday, Friday and Saturday that the global risk was "moderate".
The correction of the global risk assessment does not mean that an international health emergency has been declared.
The WHO on Thursday stopped short of declaring the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern - a rare designation used only for the worst outbreaks that would trigger more concerted global action.
The virus, which was first identified in the city of Wuhan in China on December 31, has since infected more than 2,700 people worldwide, including a few cases identified in over a dozen other countries.
Eighty-one people have died - all of them in China.
A 'sizeable' mistakeWHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is visiting China this week to discuss ways of containing the outbreak, came under intense questioning from reporters on Thursday over his decision not to declare the emergency.
Some reporters asked whether the decision was politicised.
At the briefing at WHO headquarters, however, Tedros had said that the designation could be changed at any moment and that the global risk from the outbreak was "high".
"This is an emergency in China but it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one," he said.
"WHO's risk assessment is that the outbreak is a very high risk in China, and a high risk regionally and globally."
WHO said the categorisation was "a global evaluation of risk, covering severity, spread and capacity to cope".
The agency added that the mistake made in three of its situation reports had been an "error in the wording".
Asked about the correction, Antoine Flahault, co-director of the Swiss School of Public Health, told AFP: "It's a mistake. It's definitely a sizeable one... but I really think it's a mistake that has now been corrected".
Cautious approachWHO's cautious approach to the outbreak, which has been challenged by some critics, can be seen in the context of past criticism over its slow or too hasty use of the term, first used for the deadly 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
During that outbreak, the UN health agency was criticised for sparking panic-buying of vaccines with its announcement that year that the outbreak had reached pandemic proportions, and then anger when it turned out the virus was not nearly as dangerous as first thought.
But in 2014, the WHO met harsh criticism for dragging its feet and downplaying the severity of the Ebola epidemic that ravaged three West Africa countries, claiming more than 11,300 lives by the time it ended in 2016.
(C) Agence France-Presse
Did China Steal Coronavirus From Canada And Weaponize It? | Zero Hedge
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 18:04
Submitted by Great Game India
Last year a mysterious shipment was caught smuggling Coronavirus from Canada. It was traced to Chinese agents working at a Canadian lab. Subsequent investigation by GreatGameIndia linked the agents to Chinese Biological Warfare Program from where the virus is suspected to have leaked causing the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus Bioweapon '' How Chinese agents stole Coronavirus from Canada and weaponized it into a Bioweapon The Saudi SARS Sample
On June 13, 2012 a 60-year-old Saudi man was admitted to a private hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a 7-day history of fever, cough, expectoration, and shortness of breath. He had no history of cardiopulmonary or renal disease, was receiving no long-term medications, and did not smoke.
Egyptian virologist Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated and identified a previously unknown coronavirus from his lungs. After routine diagnostics failed to identify the causative agent, Zaki contacted Ron Fouchier, a leading virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center (EMC) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for advice.
Abnormalities on Chest Imaging of the Saudi patient infected with Coronavirus. Shown are chest radiographs of the patient on the day of admission (Panel A) and 2 days later (Panel B) and computed tomography (CT) 4 days after admission (Panel C). Fouchier sequenced the virus from a sample sent by Zaki. Fouchier used a broad-spectrum ''pan-coronavirus'' real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method to test for distinguishing features of a number of known coronaviruses known to infect humans.
This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS, which was first identified in the Middle East. HANDOUT/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS This Coronavirus sample was acquired by Scientific Director Dr. Frank Plummer of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg directly from Fouchier, who received it from Zaki. This virus was reportedly stolen from the Canadian lab by Chinese agents.
The Canadian Lab
Coronavirus arrived at Canada's NML Winnipeg facility on May 4, 2013 from the Dutch lab. The Canadian lab grew up stocks of the virus and used it to assess diagnostic tests being used in Canada. Winnipeg scientists worked to see which animal species can be infected with the new virus.
Research was done in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's national lab, the National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases which is housed in the same complex as the National Microbiology Laboratory.
The National Microbiology Lab (The Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health) on Arlington St. in Winnipeg. Wayne Glowacki/Winnipeg Free Press Oct.22 2014 NML has a long history of offering comprehensive testing services for coronaviruses. It isolated and provided the first genome sequence of the SARS coronavirus and identified another coronavirus NL63 in 2004.
This Winnipeg based Canadian lab was targeted by Chinese agents in what could be termed as Biological Espionage.
Chinese Biological Espionage
In March 2019, in mysterious event a shipment of exceptionally virulent viruses from Canada's NML ended up in China. The event caused a major scandal with Bio-warfare experts questioning why Canada was sending lethal viruses to China. Scientists from NML said the highly lethal viruses were a potential bio-weapon.
Following investigation, the incident was traced to Chinese agents working at NML. Four months later in July 2019, a group of Chinese virologists were forcibly dispatched from the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory (NML). The NML is Canada's only level-4 facility and one of only a few in North America equipped to handle the world's deadliest diseases, including Ebola, SARS, Coronavirus, etc.
Xiangguo Qiu '' The Chinese Bio-Warfare Agent
The NML scientist who was escorted out of the Canadian lab along with her husband, another biologist, and members of her research team is believed to be a Chinese Bio-Warfare agent Xiangguo Qiu. Qiu was the head of the Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies Section in the Special Pathogens Program at Canada's NML.
Xiangguo Qiu is an outstanding Chinese scientist born in Tianjin. She primarily received her medical doctor degree from Hebei Medical University in China in 1985 and came to Canada for graduate studies in 1996. Later on, she was affiliated with the Institute of Cell Biology and the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health of the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, not engaged with studying pathogens.
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, the Chinese Biological Warfare Agent working at the National Microbiology Laboratory, Canada But a shift took place, somehow. Since 2006, she has been studying powerful viruses in Canada's NML. The viruses shipped from the NML to China were studied by her in 2014, for instance (together with the viruses Machupo, Junin, Rift Valley Fever, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever and Hendra).
Infiltrating the Canadian Lab
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu is married to another Chinese scientist '' Dr. Keding Cheng, also affiliated with the NML, specifically the ''Science and Technology Core''. Dr. Cheng is primarily a bacteriologist who shifted to virology. The couple is responsible for infiltrating Canada's NML with many Chinese agents as students from a range of Chinese scientific facilities directly tied to China's Biological Warfare Program, namely:
Institute of Military Veterinary, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, ChangchunCenter for Disease Control and Prevention, Chengdu Military RegionWuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, HubeiInstitute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, BeijingSources say Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng were escorted from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg on July 5, 2019. Since then, the University of Manitoba has ended their appointments, reassigned her graduate students, and cautioned staff, students and faculty about traveling to China. (Governor General's Innovation Awards) All of the above four mentioned Chinese Biological Warfare facilities collaborated with Dr. Xiangguo Qiu within the context of Ebola virus, the Institute of Military Veterinary joined a study on the Rift Valley fever virus too, while the Institute of Microbiology joined a study on Marburg virus. Noticeably, the drug used in the latter study '' Favipiravir '' has been earlier tested successfully by the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences, with the designation JK-05 (originally a Japanese patent registered in China already in 2006), against Ebola and additional viruses.
However, the studies by Dr. Qiu are considerably more advanced and apparently vital for the Chinese biological weapons development in case Coronavirus, Ebola, Nipah, Marburg or Rift Valley fever viruses are included therein.
The Canadian investigation is ongoing and questions remain whether previous shipments to China of other viruses or other essential preparations, took place from 2006 to 2018, one way or another.
Dr. Gary Kobinger, former chief of special pathogens (right), and Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, research scientist (second from right) met with Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Linda Mobula, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the physician who administered ZMapp to Brantly in Liberia when he was infected with Ebola during the 2014-16 outbreak. (Submitted by Health Canada) Dr. Xiangguo Qiu also collaborated in 2018 with three scientists from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Maryland, studying post-exposure immunotherapy for two Ebola viruses and Marburg virus in monkeys; a study supported by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The Wuhan Coronavirus
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu made at least five trips over the school year 2017-18 to the above mentioned Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was certified for BSL4 in January 2017. Moreover, in August 2017, the National Health Commission of China approved research activities involving Ebola, Nipah, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses at the Wuhan facility.
Coincidentally, the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is located only 20 miles away from the Huanan Seafood Market which is the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak dubbed the Wuhan Coronavirus.
The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is located just about 20 miles away from the Huanan Seafood Market, the epicenter of Coronavirus outbreak The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is housed at the Chinese military facility Wuhan Institute of Virology linked to China's Biological Warfare Program. It was the first ever lab in the country designed to meet biosafety-level-4 (BSL-4) standards '' the highest biohazard level, meaning that it would be qualified to handle the most dangerous pathogens.
In January 2018, the lab was operational 'for global experiments on BSL-4 pathogens,' wrote Guizhen Wu in the journal Biosafety and Health. 'After a laboratory leak incident of SARS in 2004, the former Ministry of Health of China initiated the construction of preservation laboratories for high-level pathogens such as SARS, coronavirus, and pandemic influenza virus,' wrote Guizhen Wu.
Coronavirus Bioweapon
The Wuhan institute has studied coronaviruses in the past, including the strain that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, H5N1 influenza virus, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue. Researchers at the institute also studied the germ that causes anthrax '' a biological agent once developed in Russia.
''Coronaviruses (particularly SARS) have been studied in the institute and are probably held therein,'' said Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese biowarfare. He said. ''SARS is included within the Chinese BW program, at large, and is dealt with in several pertinent facilities.''
James Giordano, a neurology professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow in Biowarfare at the U.S. Special Operations Command, said China's growing investment in bio-science, looser ethics around gene-editing and other cutting-edge technology and integration between government and academia raise the spectre of such pathogens being weaponized.
That could mean an offensive agent, or a modified germ let loose by proxies, for which only China has the treatment or vaccine. ''This is not warfare, per se,'' he said. ''But what it's doing is leveraging the capability to act as global saviour, which then creates various levels of macro and micro economic and bio-power dependencies.''
China's Biological Warfare Program
In a 2015 academic paper, Shoham '' of Bar-Ilan's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies '' asserts that more than 40 Chinese facilities are involved in bio-weapon production.
China's Biological Warfare Program is believed to include full range of traditional chemical & biological agents with a wide variety of delivery systems including artillery rockets, aerial bombs, sprayers, and short-range ballistic missiles. #coronarovirus https://t.co/7qpDNNmqk7
'-- GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) January 25, 2020China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences actually developed an Ebola drug '' called JK-05 '-- but little has been divulged about it or the defence facility's possession of the virus, prompting speculation its Ebola cells are part of China's bio-warfare arsenal, Shoham told the National Post.
Ebola is classified as a ''category A'' bioterrorism agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning it could be easily transmitted from person to person, would result in high death rates and ''might cause panic.'' The CDC lists Nipah as a category C substance, a deadly emerging pathogen that could be engineered for mass dissemination.
China's Biological Warfare Program is believed to be in an advanced stage that includes research and development, production and weaponization capabilities. Its current inventory is believed to include the full range of traditional chemical and biological agents with a wide variety of delivery systems including artillery rockets, aerial bombs, sprayers, and short-range ballistic missiles.
Weaponizing Biotech
China's national strategy of military-civil fusion has highlighted biology as a priority, and the People's Liberation Army could be at the forefront of expanding and exploiting this knowledge.
Weaponizing Biotech - China's War for Biological Dominance#coronoavirushttps://t.co/MEVQ5VERJw
'-- GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) January 25, 2020The PLA is pursuing military applications for biology and looking into promising intersections with other disciplines, including brain science, supercomputing, and artificial intelligence. Since 2016, the Central Military Commission has funded projects on military brain science, advanced biomimetic systems, biological and biomimetic materials, human performance enhancement, and ''new concept'' biotechnology.
In 2016, an AMMS doctoral researcher published a dissertation, ''Research on the Evaluation of Human Performance Enhancement Technology,'' which characterized CRISPR-Cas as one of three primary technologies that might boost troops' combat effectiveness. The supporting research looked at the effectiveness of the drug Modafinil, which has applications in cognitive enhancement; and at transcranial magnetic stimulation, a type of brain stimulation, while also contending that the ''great potential'' of CRISPR-Cas as a ''military deterrence technology in which China should ''grasp the initiative'' in development.
In 2016, the potential strategic value of genetic information led the Chinese government to launch the National Genebank, which intends to become the world's largest repository of such data. It aims to ''develop and utilize China's valuable genetic resources, safeguard national security in bioinformatics, and enhance China's capability to seize the strategic commanding heights'' in the domain of Biotechnology Warfare.
Chinese military's interest in biology as an emerging domain of warfare is guided by strategists who talk about potential ''genetic weapons'' and the possibility of a ''bloodless victory.''
Pandemic simulation exercise spotlights massive preparedness gap | Hub
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:54
By Katie Pearce
/
Published Nov 6, 2019Back in 2001, it was a smallpox outbreak, set off by terrorists in U.S. shopping malls. This fall, it was a SARS-like virus, germinating quietly among pig farms in Brazil before spreading to every country in the world.
With each fictional pandemic Johns Hopkins experts have designed, the takeaway lesson is the same: We are nowhere near prepared.
"Once you're in the midst of a severe pandemic, your options are very limited," says Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University. "The greatest good can happen with pre-planning."
"Once you're in the midst of a severe pandemic, your options are very limited. The greatest good can happen with pre-planning."
Eric Toner
Senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
That center's latest pandemic simulation, Event 201, dropped participants right in the midst of an uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak that was spreading like wildfire out of South America to wreak worldwide havoc. As fictional newscasters from "GNN" narrated, the immune-resistant virus (nicknamed CAPS) was crippling trade and travel, sending the global economy into freefall. Social media was rampant with rumors and misinformation, governments were collapsing, and citizens were revolting.
For those participating in New York City on Oct. 18'--a heavyweight group of policymakers, business leaders, and health officials'--Event 201 was a chance to see how much catch-up work is needed to bolster our disaster response systems. Full videos of the discussion are available online.
"It really does shake up assumptions and change thinking about how we can prepare for a global pandemic," says Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security.
Video credit : Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Event 201 is the fourth such exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins center, which works to prepare communities for biological threats, pandemics, and other disasters. The simulations started with 2001's Dark Winter, which gathered national security experts for its simulated smallpox outbreak. The groundbreaking event turned out to be influential in shaping U.S. efforts around pandemic preparedness'--particularly due to its timing, right before 9/11.
"Dark Winter resulted in more than a dozen congressional hearings, was briefed to the White House, and ultimately influenced the decision to stockpile enough smallpox vaccine for all Americans," Inglesby says.
That simulation and its two successors'--Atlantic Storm, conducted in 2005, and last summer's Clade X'--have also demonstrated lasting value as educational and advocacy tools, with reenactments or modified versions taking place in settings including universities, the CDC, and Capitol Hill, according to Inglesby. "These exercises have a long fuse," he says.
For Event 201, hosted in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the experts added a new layer of realism by reaching beyond government and NGOs to leaders in the private sector and business community. Participants included representatives from NBCUniversal, UPS, and Johnson & Johnson.
"Very few people have included the private sector in pandemic preparedness, but that's where most of the resources are," Toner says.
That's particularly true when it comes to vaccine development. The CAPS virus'--which Toner describes as a cousin of SARS, "but slightly more transmissible, like the flu, and slightly more lethal"'--was presented as resistant to any existing vaccine, as scientists scrambled to come up with one. Citizens, meanwhile, were rioting over scarce access to the next best thing: a fictional antiviral known to treat some CAPS symptoms.
That scenario, Toner says, is utterly realistic. "We don't have a vaccine for SARS, or MERS, or various avian flu viruses that have come up in the past decade," he notes. "That's because vaccine development is slow and difficult if there isn't an immediate market for it."
In the simulation, CAPS resulted in a death toll of 65 million people within 18 months'--surpassing the deadliest pandemic in history, the 1918 Spanish flu.
From the discussions Event 201 inspired, the Center for Health Security plans to release a set of formal recommendations within the coming weeks.
Shortly after the simulation, the center released the Global Health Security Index, the first-ever comprehensive ranking of countries on their pandemic preparedness. All in all, the picture was discouraging: The average score, across 195 countries, was 40 out of a possible 100.
"It's our hope," Inglesby says, "that countries will use this to consider where they are strong and where they are weak."
WUHAN CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC BIOENGINEERED: Who's behind it, why now and why China? | SOTN: Alternative News, Analysis & Commentary
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:37
State of the Nation
Everything Points to Biowarfare Being Used Against China by the Western Powers Which Seek to Contain Her Growing Power and Influence in the WorldGiven the multiple and serious woes that China has suffered from during 2019, it comes as no surprise that the Western powers would now resort to bioweaponry.
WEAPONIZED CORONAVIRUS: ''Bioengineered as a self-replicating weapon system''If there's one last hit to the economy that China doesn't need right now, it's a global pandemic that 'supposedly' originated in Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China's Hubei province (see map below with the red marker identifying Wuhan).
See how Wuhan is located right in the center of China's highly productive southeast region'--the economic powerhouse of the nation. This strategic location was selected for the biological attack because of the easily engineered vectors of disease dissemination as depicted by the map above. Paralyzing China's economic and financial sectors is, after all, a primary goal of this essentially Anglo-American black operation. See: Why the coronavirus is a real threat to China's economy
In light of the US-staged Hong Kong protests, U.S. tariff regime against China, threat of economic sanctions against nations working with Huawei, CIA-inflamed Xinjiang conflict involving the Muslim Uyghurs, provocative sailing of US Navy warships through the Taiwan Strait, transparent political prosecution of Huawei's CFO, ravaging of China's pig farms by a bioengineered virus, etc., the Chinese government has been under withering attack since 2018.
When so many debilitating assaults are suspiciously happening at once, what can China do except deal with them in a manner so as to expose the true culprits. However, China is not likely to do that in the case of this intensifying bio-war being waged by the West.
SARS conspiracy theoryThe original SARS pandemic that took place in China after the turn of the millennium was also well-known in bio-medical circles as a naked act of biowarfare. Like this year's coronavirus bio-attack in Wuhan, the bioengineered SARS outbreak also involved a highly coordinated campaign of propaganda and disinformation. See: Is the new 'deadly China virus' a covert operation?
However, the administration of Xi Jinping is much too concerned about the panic that would inevitably result if the populace was informed of a full-blown bioweapon attack. The precipitating chaos would simply overwhelm the government in Beijing which is already on serious overload because of the endless interference by the Anglo-American Axis.
The SARS outbreak that occurred from 2002 to 2003 has already shown that China is not willing to release the hard scientific evidence that proves the premeditated release of a bioengineered coronavirus.
The following excerpt from Wikipedia explains some of the background of SARS'--the Severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic that took place primarily in mainland China and Hong Kong, but also in Canada and other countries.
Wuhan Coronavirus of 2020The rapidly spreading Wuhan coronavirus, also known as Novel coronavirus, that was first reported in 2019 has all the hallmarks of yet another bioengineered virus in a U.S. Military laboratory.
What follows is a short description form Wikipedia of this Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Time will tell whether this deadly coronavirus was released into the Chinese population with the intent to kill and sicken, scare and intimidate. The intimidation phase of such an ongoing black operation is certainly aimed at the government in Beijing which refuses to be coerced and threatened by the Trump administration.
Because the highly disruptive, Western-backed Hong Kong protests have yet to yield the result desired by the U.S. State Department, it was only a matter of time before the C.I.A. implemented Plan B'...or is this Plan C or D?
KEY POINT: The replication process (see diagram above) of this particular coronavirus, and how quickly it mutates and/or adapts to various pharmaceutical treatment regimens, will reveal exactly how this pathogenic microorganism was bioengineered.
Why China?The $64,000 question here is: Why is China always the epicenter for so many strains and variations of coronaviruses, influenzas, pneumonia viruses and other highly contagious infection agents that strike the major commercial centers on southeastern mainland.
What's particularly suspicious about all of these outbreaks in China is that they are each described by the Mainstream Media (MSM) as quite dangerous to human health. The mortality rate in the beginning of these eventual pandemics is especially high, as if by purposeful design of the bioengineers. In this way, the whole world is eventually drawn into a pandemic melodrama that's certainly designed to fear-monger. Hence, more of these endless distractions serve the specific purpose of taking the attention away from real problems caused by governments everywhere. But it's the numerous criminal conspiracies at work and shocking scandals that the elites seek to cover up by any means possible.
You know it's a distraction when Drudge hypes it like this.
There are relatively few military bioweaponry labs in the world that have the capability to create such a contagious and fatal virus. Thus, when the truth is confirmed about the Wuhan flu, there will be only a few culprits who are behind these assaults against the Chinese people. In reality, should this Wuhan coronavirus outbreak become a full-blown epidemic in China it could represent an attempt to commit genocide. Likewise, if it becomes a bona fide pandemic, it could ultimately be labeled a crime against humanity, perhaps even genocide.
Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationIt's of paramount importance to understand that there really is a vast and highly organized New World Order conspiracy to foist a One World Government on the world community of nations. See: Is this Bill Gates' long-awaited excuse to usher in global governance?
There are several main pillars of this New World Order agenda, one of which is being stealthily put into place by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Likewise, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are slowly erecting one of the primary social media pillars as is Tony Dorsey at Twitter and Susan Wojcicki at YouTube. Bill and Hillary Clinton are using the Clinton Foundation to take advantage of poor countries around the world while surreptitiously laying the foundation for future exploitation on a mass scale just as George Soros & Sons are deceitfully creating new societies via geoengineered climate change, multiculturalism and cultural marxism. The crucial point is that all of these high-paid globalists are intimately connected to each other and covertly working to advance the same nation-destroying U.N. agendas. See: PEDOGATE: Epstein cofounded Clinton Global Initiative, Bill Gates hung out with Epstein AFTER conviction
Fabricating global crises is at the very core of these various NWO sub-agendas. Two of the 'scariest' manufactured catastrophes are those that severely impact the biosphere (e.g. global warming) and undermine human health (e.g. deadly pandemics). In this way, false pretexts are being cunningly constructed to justify the establishment of an all-powerful One World Government. Toward that end, the NWO globalist cabal knows that they must first sufficiently manufacture consent so that the people demand a totalitarian form of global governance to manage these public health disasters and environmental catastrophes.
Multi-billionaires such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and George Soros were all given their fortunes mostly through exorbitant corporate compensation plans, insider trading, currency manipulations, off-shore tax evasion schemes, and other forms of criminal unconscionable enrichment. Once they received those ill-gotten gains, they were completely own by the International Banking Cartel (IBC).
The IBC then directs the expenditures of every single dollar given to these made tycoons, most of which are allocated toward carrying out the NWO implementation plan. The pet projects listed on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website are examples of that nefarious plan. Of course, the whole world now knows that their pet project is their worldwide Super-Vaccination Agenda, where every single person is vaccinated every year, on time, and micro-chipped accordingly. What better way to completely control the global population? See: India To Prosecute Bill Gates For Using Tribal Children To Conduct Illegal Vaccine Test
There is no better way to enforce a mandatory global vaccination schedule than to engineer a frightening pandemic with an exceedingly high mortality rate. Billions of people will then demand the newly formulated vaccine necessary to protect them from such a fatal infection and/or debilitating disease. Hence, before anyone receives such a vaccine, it's important to know that the process REQUIRED to produce such an effective immunization is literally years from the making, if one is possible at all because of how intricately this coronavirus was bio-engineered to elude proper analysis and the necessary experimentation.
''It's really quite easy for any of the numerous U.S. military bioweapon labs to bioengineer a deadly super-virus and then release it in a city as large as Wuhan, China. Acts of bioterrorism like this are carried out all the time. As a matter of historical fact, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 actually originated at Fort Riley, Kansas where soldiers reported to the Army's largest training facility during World War I. The soldiers who were [DELIBERATELY] infected with the H1N1 influenza virus then served as countless vectors of dissemination for the pandemic that ultimately killed as many as 100 million people worldwide. That single US-executed biowarfare operation against humanity was arguably the deadliest depopulation event in human history.'' (See: Spanish Flu of 1918 Was Really a Bioterror Attack on Humanity)'-- Intelligence Analyst & Former U.S. Army OfficerConclusionThere's no better way to compel a populace to comply with draconian vaccination regimens than to scare them with the prospect of a deadly pandemic. Governments around the world are constantly under pressure from the New World Order globalist cabal to implement the Super-Vaccination Agenda.
Toward that end, the world community of nations has been repeatedly victimized by manufactured measles outbreaks and ever-worsening flu seasons, so they tell us. See: Annual Flu Shot Programs and Staged Measles Outbreaks Are the Central Pillars of the Super-Vaccination Agenda
However, there really is much more to this story than meets the eye. Not only was the Wuhan coronavirus surreptitiously disseminated to serve as a major distraction from a rapidly collapsing Global Economic & Financial System, this state-sponsored black operation also represents the worst of predatory capitalism conducted as a means of generating revenue. Much more significantly, this staged pandemic will be furtively used to exert oppressive international controls on travel as well as impose draconian medical measures which greatly advance the Super-Vaccination Agenda.
Lastly, the timing of the deadly virus that ravaged China's pig farms last year quite predictably triggered a call for the development of a preventative vaccine. What the following news report neglected to state was that the mass slaughter of pigs, in a society that demands LOTS of pork, was cynically planned to manufacture the urgent need for yet another vaccine. See: China's Pig Farms Decimated by Virus'--Was it bioengineered and spread on purpose?
The bottom line here is that the Wuhan coronavirus is likely another race-targeting bioweapon strategically unleashed throughout China by U.S. military labs
Special Note: People, everything points to this bio-terror attack being the BIG ONE (also known as the global depopulation scheme we've all been waiting for). This coronavirus is moving around the globe so fast, and being hyped by the Mainstream Media with such a vengeance, it's as though this will be their primary tool for total global lockdown. If the infection rate continues to proliferate into a full-blown pandemic, like The Powers That Be did with the Spanish flu, then this really is the depopulation event many of us have warned about. This highly misguided and naked act of bio-terrorism could even evolve into an ELE, God forbid. There's no question that 2020 promises to be a year of pervasive and profound transformation. The current state of affairs throughout the world cannot continue; it's far too unstable and explosive. Hence, it's quite likely that there will be a series of global catalysts that will prompt the necessary changes. While some of these apocalyptic calamities may seem terrifying at first, ultimately they will serve to contribute to the ongoing planetary catharsis. Whereas many folks will see all of these End-time crises as being intentionally manufactured by the power elite to save their own skins, REMEMBER, even the Dark Side can only act as the Highest Power permits. Also remember that, ultimately, ''all things work together toward good''.State of the Nation January 20, 2020
Recommended Reading
SUPER-VACCINATION AGENDA Being Foisted On The USA 24/7
Update 1After seeing their whole country burned down by Operation Torch Australia , how could the Australian government possibly refuse globalist orders to develop a coronavirus vaccine. (See: Always obeying their NWO globalist masters, Australia swiftly develops coronavirus vaccine!) As it was previously stated, the typical Hegelian Dialectic Problem~Reaction~Solution strategy will now be used to foist a toxic vaccination regimen on the entire planetary civilization.
Update 2The NWO globalist cabal knows that fastidiously bioengineered viruses, especially those which are hardwired to rapidly morph and mutate so as to elude an effective remedy, are the most effective depopulation weapons in their arsenal. See: The bioengineered Spanish flu that killed upwards of 100 MILLION people originated at Fort Riley, Kansas
Update 3Even popular Alt Media platforms are being used to float planted propaganda and false narratives '-- PREEMPTIVELY '-- in order to deflect any and all attention from this transparent bio-terror attack by the West. See this purposeful headline, which is usually issued by the CIA's Mockingbird Media, as an example of such a diversionary tactic and strategic misdirection: The Real Umbrella Corp: Wuhan Ultra Biohazard Lab Was Studying ''The World's Most Dangerous Pathogens''.
Update 4Fear-mongering headlines about China such as this one will only intensify until President Xi Jinping bends to the will of the Trump administration regarding the ''trade deal from hell'': China On Edge Of Chaos: ''7 Cities, 23 Million People Under Quarantine''. Oh, and by the way, the headlines now read like this today: ''Beijing Calls In Military As Virus Overwhelms Wuhan Hospitals''. Who, pray tell, will travel to China in 2020 in view of these swiftly deteriorating conditions?! Who will want to do business there? Exactly'--NO ONE. Which is exactly what the real perps wanted to achieve.
Update 5Will the utter panic being fueled by social media in China be used as a pretext to shut down vast swaths of the Internet? Both Big Tech and Big Social Media have been frenetically looking for ways to terminate the Alt Media. Here's what the ever-prevaricating New York Times featured today: Panic and Criticism Spread on Chinese Social Media Over Coronavirus. We're not saying it didn't happen; only that the Mainstream Media will do whatever is necessary to destroy the emerging Fifth Estate. See: Fifth Estate Looms Larger Than Ever as Alt Media Exposes NWO Agenda and Deep State Treason
Update 6There's an extremely malevolent aspect to this bio-terror operation: WEAPONIZED CORONAVIRUS: ''Bioengineered as a self-replicating weapon system''
Update 7Why didn't the U.S. implement the same type of border screenings as Russia and India? (See: Deadly Chinese coronavirus arrives in US as Russia, India & others boost border screenings) The southern border, especially in California, is so porous and vulnerable to illegal aliens with deadly contagious diseases crossing over that any enemy could send infected Trojan horses into the Southwest all day long.
Update 8The United States Government is already notorious for recklessly releasing dangerous infection agents and contagious viruses into the national environment, as well as in foreign countries. One of the worst of these bio-terror operations unleashed in the 50 states concerns the multi-decade epidemic known as Lyme disease. For the unaware, the following video expos(C) spells it out in graphic detail: The Officially Ignored Link Between Bioengineered Lyme Disease and the Plum Island Bioweapon Laboratory
Update 9As suspected, the NWO perps are taking this bioengineered pandemic global very, VERY quickly. The United States now has 3 confirmed cases and 63 suspected ones. See: 46 Million Chinese Are Now Under Quarantine, More Than All Of California; Virus Jumps To Europe
Update 10'SPREADS THROUGH EYES': Coronavirus vectors of transmission increasing
Update 11They know how to time these terror operations: A 'High-Level Exercise' Conducted 3 Months Ago Showed That A Coronavirus Pandemic Could Kill 65 Million People
Update 12More and more Alt Media sites are calling this a hoax. While there may be aspects and details that are proven to be fake, that does not mean the entire psyop / black op is a hoax. As the perps often do, they blend grim realities with obvious falsehoods in order to confuse investigative journalists who then promote their own fictitious narrative. This tendency must be resisted until we see how this factually evolves. See: It's way too early for the Alt Media to call this developing pandemic a hoax.
Update 13And along comes a PhD Toxicologist who really knows what he's talking about regarding this particular coronavirus. Despite a degree from Duke University's Department of Pathology, this trained scientist has left the reservation of political correctness and breaks it all down in this informative video: Coronavirus Is Worse Than You've Been Told.
Update 14Every bioengineered pandemic, especially those that have gone unidentified and/or unacknowledged, have a specific purpose for the targeted populations and bloodlines. Whereas the Spanish flu was as a full-scale depopulation event, the Epstein-Barr virus released during the 1960s was a stealthy bio-terror attack with a highly hidden agenda. The rebellious Beatniks and Baby Boomers were the explicit target of the EBV stealth virus as their health has greatly suffered since those original bouts of Mononucleosis. Likewise, everything now points to the great likelihood that the present act of bio-terrorism in China was conducted to expose as many people as possible in order to degrade the overall health status and undermine the immune systems of the susceptible populations. This is why the Chinese bloodlines were specifically targeted; they have been set up to suffer a similar fate as those who still suffer from EBV Stage IV some 50 years after that bio-crime. This analysis certainly does not preclude the distinct possibility that the Wuhan bio-attack could end up morphing into a major depop event. Only time will tell.
Update 15An essential revisiting of the Spanish flu genocide reveals that it was the prescribed aspirin which turned that influenza into such a mass killer. Therefore, it's imperative that every person who contracts Wuhan coronavirus understands their treatment plan and is not taking any medicine(s) that can worsen it. Certain drug interactions, in particular, can significantly increase the severity of certain types of flu and their various symptoms. See: BEWARE: Spanish Flu Mortality Rate Soared Because of Doctor-prescribed Medicines Especially Aspirin
Update 16'The Father of the Coronavirus Virus is the CDC', Planted in China by the C.I.A.
Update 17What's vital to correctly comprehend throughout this unfolding global drama is that there are multiple scenarios developing in different parts of the world as various covert schemes are being executed by the perpetrators. None of these scenarios are necessarily mutually exclusive. While some of them described in these updates may even appear to contradict each other, they can all be true and/or operative at the same time. For instance, it has been reported that Man Who Pushed SARS Dud Now Pushing New Chinese Virus. That factoid might lead many to believe that the current outbreak is a media-generated hoax, when in reality it could be much worse than what is represented by the MSM. In other words, this complex conspiracy was made quite complicated and confusing on purpose to confound both medical researchers and scientific investigators alike.
Update 18What makes Wuhan coronavirus so challenging to closely monitor and potentially decimating is this: Coronavirus Stealth Strain Bioengineered to Avoid Detection in Carriers Who Present No Symptoms The U.S. military labs have been hard at work over decades perfecting their newfangled bioweapons. What that means is that a previous pandemic '-- known or silent '-- is craftily utilized to lay the foundation for a future one that, when overlaid, triggers a whole new multi-infection syndrome which is both deadly and difficult to identify, much less treat successfully. There are also multiple chemtrail aerosol formulations that are used to activate different flu pathogens that line the respiratory tract. That's why so many now complain of both Chemtrail Flu and Chemtrail Syndrome. See: CHEMTRAIL SYNDROME: A Global Pandemic Of Epic Proportions
Update 19Now we know: Why are these 80 scientists now dead? And, why are they all microbiologists?
Update 20This critical update is arguably the most important of all because of the revised history that is presents: Spanish Flu Genocide Was Really Caused by Vaccinations. Hence, the Chinese medial authorities had better look closely at the vaccines being administered throughout the Wuhan greater metro area. As is often the case, the steady application of Occam's razor will likely solve the primordial cause mystery. This HUGE revelation does not mean that the Spanish flu ''aspirin theory'' is not relevant; for that 'medical mistake' served to put the influenza outbreak on super steroids ON PURPOSE.
Update 21If these photos and testimonies coming out of Wuhan China are true, then the degree of media censorship occurring right now is quite extraordinary by any standard. The following link contains GRAPHIC photos and shocking testimony that were posted by an ex-FBI agent: A Former FBI Agent with the Terrorism Task Force Posted Smuggled Photos and Videos of China Chaos.
Update 22Ever since SARS first appeared on the scene in China, it was as though there was a fierce competition heating up between the United States and China. The basic dynamic is that the Chinese are always trying to stay a step ahead of the latest act of bio-terrorism perpetrated on the mainland. So, as the U.S. military bioweapon labs forever create new biological weapons that are race-targeting, the Chinese labs are developing various antidotes and vaccines to prevent an overwhelming epidemic like we see today. See: Are these coronavirus patents being acquired to weaponize the virus, develop profitable vaccines, or both?!
Update 23Was the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic deliberately blown up as a major distraction just a few days before the planned January 25th 5G global protest? ''YES ! ! !'' Update 24There is some serious speculation about the secret strategy of fabricating a stealth virus that scares the heck out of everyone in order to compel and coerce citizenries around the world to get the soon-to-be-developed vaccine. In view of the severe pushback by parents everywhere to the pernicious childhood vaccination schedules, The Powers That Be had to come up with a plan. Only a mandatory vaccination campaign to address a deadly virus like the Wuhan coronavirus could reverse the rising tide of anger and rebelliousness against those institutionalized crimes known as medical rape and medicide by vaccine. Hence, the Wuhan coronavirus was likely bioengineered to meet all the most concerning criteria whereby the people will soon be demanding a vaccine, just the way the perps designed it. The more crucial point here is that any vaccine the bioweapon labs concoct will inevitably cause an infection in a significant segment of the vaccinated population, which will only keep this pandemic going ad infinitum. Even more significantly is the fact that such a vaccine will contain undisclosed ingredients which will produce even worse symptoms and/or disease for the vaccine victim in the future (e.g. Autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, Allergies, MCS, EI Syndrome).
Update 25Another Graphic Insider Report on China's Coronavirus Crisis: Coronavirus in China: 23 Million QUARANTINED, 2.8 Million Infected; 112,000 DEAD
Update 26There is an intimate connection between the recent 5G roll-out in Wuhan City and the explosion of the coronavirus in the same geographic area. Several of the primary symptoms of this virus can also be caused by exposure to 5G radio-frequency signal ranges and microwave radiation. The millimeter waves associated with 5G are especially harmful and proven to undermine the human immune system. As follows:
Scientists warn of potential serious health effects of 5G including many influenza symptomsExposure to 5G millimeter waves leads to '...'.....''flu-like symptoms''.Wuhan City Was expected to have 10,000 5G base stations operating by the end of 2019Update 27Let's not forget that this bio-terror attack was calculated to take place during the week of the Chinese New Year, perhaps the biggest holiday of the year. Not only that, but this year '-- 2020 '-- celebrates the Year of the Rat, the first year of the 12-year cycle which sets the pace for the time ahead. Such meticulous timing for a biological attack could only have been set by China's arch enemies. This event has not only destroyed any hope of economic recovery in the wake of the Trump tariffs, it has greatly demoralized the citizenry. (See: Doing business in China just got a LOT harder'--Was it planned that way? ) . As the Drudge Report quite disrespectfully posted, the perps sent a big ugly ''Happy Flu Year''. What they failed to realize, however, is that there will be blowback.
Update 28What cannot be overlooked is the suspicious timing of the Wuhan bio-attack relative to the formal announcement of President Trump's 'peace plan' on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 (that's today). Not only is this not a peace plan, the Palestinians had no part in its formulation and negotiation. What Trump is really offering is an Israeli annexation scheme designed to coerce the State of Palestine into a very bad deal. How does anything good come out of a deal put together by Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Donald Trump and Jared Kushner where it concerns the future of the Palestinians? That's right'--nothing but more pain and suffering will come from this transparent scam. Which is why the timing of its official presentation to the world-at-large is quite suspect taking place in the midst of the ongoing pandemic scare (and impeachment trial). Are the other world power expected to endorse the ''crazy peace plan'' under threat of a coronavirus bio-terror attack?! See: Trump's 'peace plan' is theater of the absurd
Update 29There are several ridiculous narratives circulating throughout the Alt Media that suggest this whole pandemic scare is a hoax. Surely, a city with over 11 million people '-- Wuhan, China '-- would not look like this if this strain of coronavirus was not a very serious health hazard: Inside Wuhan: Daily life in China's coronavirus quarantine zone (Video). Furthermore, Chinese doctors would not risk their lives to put out dire warnings such as this one: Infected Chinese Doctor Warns N95 Masks Do Not Protect Against Coronavirus. There is also this brave resident of Wuhan who risked his life to provide a reality check via YouTube: Wuhan citizen risks his life to tell what's really happening with coronavirus crisis (Video)
Special Message from The Health CoachTo: Any individual who wishes to guard against exposure to, or remediating symptoms caused by, the Wuhan coronavirus.The Health Coach has provided coaching and consultation services for clients with the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, COPD, asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, as well as the whole range of both upper and lower respiratory infections and diseases. Every flu season brings its own unique set of symptoms and challenges which are met as quickly and successfully as possible with our highly individualized protocols. Our experience with SARS, MERS and other contagious coronavirus infections has well prepared us to assist our clients who have been infected or are vulnerable to the Wuhan coronavirus infection. Our primary approach is holistic and preventative, natural and alternative. However, when medical interventions are necessary, we are quick to refer and recommend the best specialists. A strong immune system and healthy body are the best guarantee against infection and manifesting symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Because this strain is ''at least 70 percent similar in genome sequence to SARS-CoV'', much of what we learned about SARS as far as treatment is concerned will be applicable. However, new approaches will also be necessary which The Health Coach is prepared to share on a case-by-case basis depending on the presenting symptoms, overall health profile and the individual's established body types.
Please, only email us at TheHealthCoach1@gmail.com should our health coaching services be needed.
See: The Health Coach website for additional information and updates.
Reference: Coronavirus Infections
Guidance: CORONAVIRUS TIPS: Here are the best ways to immediately treat a viral infection.
2020
'Hillary' (the docu-series) lands on Sundance and 2020 primary like a hand grenade
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:09
News
By Johnny Oleksinski
January 26, 2020 | 12:57am
PARK CITY, Utah '-- Hillary Clinton threw a hand-grenade at the 2020 Democratic presidential primary election Saturday with her new documentary, ''Hillary.''
The one-sided, four-part Hulu series about her life premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and everything you've heard is true '-- Clinton comes off like Rambo when she talks about current Democratic candidate, and former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In behind-the-scenes footage from the night of the 2016 Iowa Caucus, we see Clinton seething over the shock success of her competitor, who she sees as little more than a Vermont snake oil salesman. On Feb. 1, Clinton and her team were enraged that Sanders had gotten to within a percent of her victory in the midwestern state, and sought to deprive the man of even a sentimental victory.
''I just don't want him to get out there and say the revolution is working, [that] people 'felt the Bern,''' she says, before quickly leaving the room to beat him to a speech. Clinton adds that she found his socialist proposals unrealistic and phony. ''I had people in my campaign say, 'Just say ''Free college.'' Millennials love it,' '' she says. ''And I said 'no.' ''
Whenever Sanders is onscreen, his underscoring is brooding and villainous, like Darth Vader just took off his helmet for a breather. In a hallway before a debate in New Hampshire, Sanders asks a tense Clinton how she feels about his suit. ''Buttoned or unbuttoned?'' he says. Irked, she tells him to undo the button as soon as he gets ''worked up.''
Last week, it was revealed that Clinton said of her former rival in the doc: ''Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.''
Suddenly magnanimous, Clinton pivoted on that passionate stance Saturday, when an apparent Sanders voter in the Sundance audience took her to task.
''It's no surprise that you're not a big fan of Bernie Sanders,'' he said. ''So what would you say to the Bernie Sanders fans?'... Who should they vote for?''
''Once we have a nominee, close ranks,'' Clinton responded to loud applause. There was a lot of clapping throughout, with Sundance being Utah's largest annual liberal convention.
Clinton's change of heart didn't come off as particularly genuine, though, since less than a week ago when the Hollywood Reporter asked if she'd endorse Sanders in the general election, she said, ''I'm not going to go there yet.''
During a screening that would exhaust even Martin Scorsese, there were just a handful of new revelations.
Bill Clinton was candid in his interview about his affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky. When asked if he had worried about the risk that the tryst posed to his family and the nation, he said he hadn't. ''Nobody thinks they're taking a risk,'' he says. ''That's not why we do stupid things.''
He added, ''Everybody's lives have pressures'' and that his affair was something he did to ''manage my anxieties'... I'm a different person now.''
The doc also throws President Obama under the campaign bus. In a scene that takes place in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine tells her Obama had recently called him up to trash Donald Trump.
Kaine claims the president told him, ''Tim, remember, this is no time to be a purist. You've got to keep a fascist out of the White House.''
We also learn that after James Comey reopened the investigation into Clinton's private emails, discovered on disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop, it led to Clinton aide and Weiner's ex Huma Abedin breaking down on the campaign plane.
''He's gonna kill me, he's gonna kill me!,'' Clinton recalls Abedin crying over the soul-crushing pain Weiner brought to her life.
For the most part, though, the overlong ''Hillary'' isn't so much a documentary as a memoir. It's mostly narrated by Clinton herself, with contributions from close friends, family members, campaign staffers and a couple journalists from the Washington Post and the New York Times. Several of the newspaper writers teared up when recalling Clinton's loss.
And ''Hillary'' premiered just 10 days before the Iowa Caucus. Funny, that.
Filed under 2020 presidential election , anthony weiner , barack obama , bernie sanders , bill clinton , documentaries , documentary , hillary clinton , sundance , sundance film festival , tim kaine
How Some People of Color Feel Inside the Buttigieg Campaign - The New York Times
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 10:13
As the candidate courted nonwhite voters, employees of color were voicing their frustrations, according to interviews, documents and a recording. The campaign said it worked to foster a progressive workplace.
Pete Buttigieg at an event in Orange City, Iowa, on Jan. 16. He has struggled to attract voters of color, a challenge that his campaign has grappled with internally. Credit... Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times Jan. 28, 2020Updated 9:45 a.m. ET
In early December, more than 100 members of Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign staff gathered at the South Bend City Church a mile from headquarters for a mandatory half-day retreat about diversity and inclusion. Less than two months remained before the start of voting, a time when most campaigns are focused full-time on politics.
Buttigieg advisers say the retreat was part of an ongoing effort to foster a progressive culture that empowered employees of color. For some of these staff members, however, the workplace itself was a problem, and working for a candidate with so little support from black and Hispanic voters had become demoralizing.
In interviews, current and former staff members of color said they believed that senior Buttigieg officials didn't listen to their concerns and ideas about the campaign. One said there was a daily ''emotional weight'' on people of color who felt they were employed in order to help the campaign meet its ambitious diversity targets. Some Hispanic employees felt disrespected when managers asked them to translate text, even if they didn't speak Spanish.
A follow-up meeting nearly two weeks after the retreat '-- organized by staff members '-- became emotional, according to two people who attended. Some employees of color spoke about feeling disrespected by white colleagues. Others said they felt stressed from having to answer questions from friends and family members about working for a candidate struggling with minority voters, the two people said.
A second meeting, on Jan. 2, featured lengthy discussions of the importance of diversity in hiring and sometimes tearful descriptions of the difficulty of recruiting people of color to the staff, according to a recording of the session that was provided to The New York Times.
One employee also recalled a troubling incident for staff members of color: The campaign had planned a fund-raiser with a donor who had helped try to suppress the release of video showing the police shooting of a black Chicago teenager. Some members of the vetting team had warned against doing the fund-raiser with the donor as co-host. Campaign fund-raising officials proceeded anyway, and at the last minute, amid an outcry, were forced to remove the donor as co-host and return his donation.
The Buttigieg campaign's focus on staff diversity resembles, on one level, efforts found at many organizations. But most campaigns are fast-growing, fast-moving enterprises that rarely have time or money for in-depth workplace self-assessments or extensive inclusion and training programs. The situation at Buttigieg's headquarters also stands out as unusual because of the unique set of pressures on a campaign and a candidate trying to become a trusted voice on matters of race.
Interviews with half a dozen current and former staff members '-- and a review of internal documents, emails and the recording '-- show how the campaign and its employees grappled with goals and grievances related to diversity. Those interviewed insisted on anonymity, citing nondisclosure agreements or fear of retribution.
In addition, the Buttigieg campaign made other employees available to discuss its handling of workplace issues.
In a statement, Mr. Buttigieg, 38, who recently finished his second term as mayor of South Bend, Ind., nodded to those challenges and struck a progressive tone in emphasizing the importance of supporting his staff.
''We're proud of the staffers who stood up and made their voices heard to help our campaign improve and be more inclusive,'' Mr. Buttigieg said. ''We realize that we can always do better and these honest discussions are how we make progress, and we will continue to provide our staff the safe space to have them.'' His campaign provided the statement in response to questions about the operation.
Vernon Gair, the accounting director for the campaign, who was made available by officials there, said that because of Mr. Buttigieg's struggle to attract black voters, the campaign had to meet a higher bar internally in addressing the concerns of minority employees. ''We can't just be good enough on these issues '-- our candidates, and our teams,'' Mr. Gair, who is black, said in an interview.
He said he was a member of what the campaign called ''bridge'' groups aimed at providing support to staff members who were members of certain affinity groups, including black and L.G.B.T.Q. employees. Mr. Gair said his group had conveyed some of its frustrations to the campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, who took the time to listen. Mr. Gair declined to be specific about the frustrations.
After this article was published on Tuesday, the Buttigieg campaign posted a lengthy explanation of its diversity efforts online. ''Pete for America is committed to creating trusted environments for issues to be raised and addressed within, across and outside the campaign,'' the campaign wrote. ''We are proud of our efforts and we are especially proud of our staff.
While concerns about diversity are not uncommon for people working in other political campaigns, the flurry of activity inside Buttigieg headquarters related to workplace culture is unusual so close to the start of voting, said Donna Brazile, a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns since 1984.
''I've never heard of anything like this,'' Ms. Brazile said. ''Not in '08 and never in 2016.''
Robby Mook, who managed Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, said campaigns were becoming more open to hearing from junior staff members whose concerns in the past may have been largely ignored by top officials.
''On any campaign, regardless of your staff, it's really hard, pressure builds and it's important to take a pause and ask people how it's going,'' Mr. Mook said. ''And sometimes those meetings can be tough.''
While polling still shows Mr. Buttigieg in a deep hole with black Democrats '-- a recent Washington Post survey found he had just 2 percent support nationwide '-- he has exhibited some signs of progress among black elected officials. In the last month, he has won endorsements from Representative Anthony Brown of Maryland; Mayor Quentin Hart of Waterloo, Iowa; and Deborah Berry, a former Iowa state representative from Waterloo.
Still, skepticism remains even among some Buttigieg supporters about his ability to win over black voters. At two separate Iowa events on Monday, Mr. Buttigieg faced questions from voters about how he will win more support from African-Americans.
From the beginning, Mr. Buttigieg's inner circle of top advisers, most of whom are white, went to great lengths to hire a diverse staff, and they say they reached their target number: forty percent people of color, a high proportion that is usually a plus for campaign outreach to voters of color. Chris Meagher, a spokesman, said the campaign had made an effort to hire people of color in leadership positions, including Brandon Neal, a senior adviser.
The campaign held an initial staff retreat that included a session on diversity in May, then held the December retreat in South Bend and scheduled local retreats in December and January for workers in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, Mr. Meagher said.
Yet as Mr. Buttigieg rose in the polls through last year, his struggle to win over black voters became the biggest threat to his chances, and pained many minority staff members.
Early in the campaign, he faced questions as mayor about his decision in 2012 to fire Darryl Boykins, South Bend's first black police chief. Then, in June, the fatal shooting of a black resident by a white police officer in South Bend presented perhaps the biggest crisis of his candidacy. Mr. Buttigieg was briefly forced off the campaign trail to address the matter.
In October, the campaign was rocked by revelations that among the hosts of a scheduled Chicago fund-raiser was Steve Patton, a lawyer who had tried to block the release of footage of the 2014 police shooting of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald. After black leaders including Jesse Jackson objected, the campaign distanced itself from Mr. Patton.
Another problem arose in late November, when Mr. Buttigieg came under fire for comments he made in 2011 about children from ''lower-income, minority neighborhoods'' not having ''someone who they know personally who testifies to the value of education.'' The remarks prompted a scathing essay in The Root.
Current and former staff members said The Root's article became a source of angst among employees of color in the campaign.
The article was discussed during an all-staff meeting the day after it was published. At one point, Mr. Schmuhl, tears in his eyes, told staff members that he understood people of color on the campaign were ''hurting,'' according to three people who were present.
After the half-day retreat in early December, which the campaign says was scheduled before The Root's article was published, a group of six staff members took additional steps to address their colleagues' concerns. They organized the two follow-up sessions, titled ''Building Belonging,'' in an apartment building that is home to many campaign staff members.
The campaign's senior leadership was aware of the sessions but did not participate in them.
On Jan. 1, the campaign's national engagement coordinator, Raven Hollins, circulated a survey soliciting examples of microaggressions in the workplace, asking that only people of color complete it.
The first question asked whether employees of color had experienced any of six microaggressions from a white colleague, a list that included being interrupted and being ''called the name of a different staff member of color.'' Ms. Hollins declined to comment.
When the group of about 70 staff members convened for the Jan. 2 ''Building Belonging'' session, several spoke emotionally about their challenges in recruiting and hiring a diverse work force, according to the audio recording obtained by The Times.
Staff members also expressed frustration about the recent departures of minority colleagues, the importance of helping people of color build their professional political networks and hard feelings about the Patton episode two months earlier.
Katrina Smith, a young member of the vetting team, spoke about the episode involving Mr. Patton's fund-raiser, telling her colleagues that leadership had ignored her group's warning that he was an inappropriate host.
''The decisions that were made on those committees that ended up impacting everybody on the campaign, especially people of color, were hard ones and were not considered appropriately because of the makeup of the committees,'' Ms. Smith said, according to the recording. ''In a lot of different places on the campaign, we kind of have to screw up big-time before we make any big changes.''
In a statement provided by the campaign, Ms. Smith said, ''Even as a more junior member of the team my voice is fully heard and valued.''
Mr. Meagher, the campaign spokesman, attributed the Patton episode to a ''communications breakdown.'' Marcus Switzer, an official in the Buttigieg fund-raising department, said he had subsequently helped improve the process of vetting donors.
''We were able to professionalize and operationalize some things and also account for the fact that this is a campaign that has had rapid growth,'' he said.
Also during the Jan. 2 meeting, Buttigieg aides responsible for meeting the campaign's diversity goals spoke in emotional terms about the difficulty of hiring minority candidates, the recording shows.
Alexis Gonzaludo, a member of the campaign's fund-raising department, told colleagues that ''my stomach is in knots'' as she talked about the difficulty of attracting diverse candidates. She said she had become dismayed when she looked in the campaign's hiring database and ''it's just like, a bunch of white dudes.''
''It's been a shock, but not a surprise '-- really hard to find diverse candidates,'' Ms. Gonzaludo said. ''I feel a lot of pressure to, like, just hire someone.''
Ms. Gonzaludo, in a statement provided by the campaign, said: ''These types of conversations, where people come together to have an open and honest discussion, are an opportunity to strategize on finding new resources to recruit talented candidates from all walks of life.''
Sonal Shah, the campaign's policy director, who helped organize the ''Building Belonging'' sessions, said the young staff members of color had long been asking for an open discussion of issues of diversity on the campaign.
''They wanted to have a conversation about ensuring that we as a campaign were maintaining diversity and inclusion as a top-of-mind issue,'' Ms. Shah said in an interview arranged by the campaign. ''From the organizations that I have worked at, this has been consistent with young people. They always want to make sure they're having that conversation.''
Mr. Buttigieg's campaign said the retreat and follow-up meetings over the last two months, and other sessions throughout last year, showed its commitment to diversity, and its openness to having staff members voice their frustrations.
''I think there are some, you know, global issues that are not unique to our organization,'' said Mr. Gair, the accounting director. ''The purpose of the conversations was to create a safe space for folks to voice that with their colleagues.''
25 for 45
Question -> I’m sending it to the desk
Lobbyist bought tropical land from Biden's brother
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:03
Joe Biden, his brother James Biden and lobbyist Scott Green. | POLITICO Illustration/Getty Images; AP; Alain Brin
In 2005, Joe Biden's brother bought an acre of land with excellent ocean views on a remote island in the Caribbean for $150,000. He divided it into three parcels, and the next year a lobbyist close to the Delaware senator bought one of the parcels for what had been the cost of the entire property. Later, the lobbyist gave Biden's brother a mortgage loan on the remaining parcels.
The Virgin Islands land deal, reported here for the first time, furthers a pattern in which members of the Biden family have engaged in financial dealings with people with an interest in influencing the former vice president.
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In this case, a Biden staffer left the Senate in the early '90s to become a lobbyist. Both before and after the land transaction, his clients benefited from Biden's support and appropriations requests. A firm the lobbyist co-founded '-- which features a testimonial from Biden praising his ''emotional investment'' in his work on its website '-- specializes in federal contracts for niche law enforcement and national security programs for which Biden long advocated.
After the land deal, Joe Biden vacationed elsewhere on the tiny island, which once protected a nearby submarine base before it became a tropical getaway, on at least three occasions.
Water Island. | Alain Brin/POLITICO
The property itself has remained vacant and undeveloped. It is not clear why the lobbyist, Scott Green, purchased the parcel from Biden's brother James, or why James Biden later went to the lobbyist for a loan, rather than to a bank. An easement James Biden obtained granting road access to the land before selling it to Green may have made the land more valuable, but it is unclear whether the dramatically higher price Green paid for his parcel reflected its true value. The terms of the loan were not disclosed in property records.
It is also not clear whether Joe Biden was aware of the transactions. Following the land purchase, Green continued to lobby on issues over which Biden wielded influence and to meet with Biden's staff. Green's firm also continued to land government contracts related to federal programs for which Biden advocated.
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Representatives of the Biden campaign declined to comment. Green did not respond to several requests for comment. A lawyer for James Biden, George Mesires, acknowledged receiving questions, but did not respond to them.
James Biden, six years Joe's junior, served as finance chairman on his older brother's first Senate campaign in 1972. He went on to pursue an entrepreneurial career that regularly intersected with Joe's public duties. He once sought to launch a Washington lobbying firm, but the venture was cut short when his would-be partners were convicted of attempting to bribe a judge in an unrelated matter. He has previously been accused by former business contacts of seeking to exploit the former vice president's clout for financial gain in court proceedings in New York, Kentucky, and Florida, though he has denied such claims.
Water Island is a 500-acre spit of land in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Department of Defense purchased the island from a Danish company during World War II, using it to protect a submarine base on nearby St. Thomas. Since then, it has become an under-the-radar tropical getaway dotted with several-dozen homes, where the largest beachfront estates can fetch north of a million dollars.
Scenes of tropical Water Bay. Honeymoon Bay (top) and the Water Island Ferry. | Alain Brin/POLITICO
In May 2005, James Biden and his wife, Sara, purchased a one-acre plot of land in the middle of the island, according to property records. Tax records describe the view from the property as ''excellent.'' The price: $150,000.
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Then, the couple got an easement to access the land and divided it into three parcels. The easement, granted by the Virgin Islands territorial government, gave them the right to use an existing driveway to the property that cut across government land. A year later, in May 2006, the Bidens sold the northernmost parcel, just over a third of an acre, to Green and his wife, Julie, according to property records.
The price, again, was $150,000. In effect, James and Sara Biden had gotten their money back while keeping most of the land '-- recouping their investment in just 12 months.
Land value can fluctuate, making it difficult to assess whether such a dramatic increase in land price was reasonable. An easement can make land more valuable, depending on how costly the easement was and how difficult it was to obtain.
The paperwork costs for this type of easement would be minimal, according to Raf Muilenburg, managing partner at Morrisette & Muilenburg, a law firm based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Muilenburg estimated that the cost of planning and surveying a driveway easement would be under $1,000. Filing fees would be in the hundreds of dollars, and that the easement could also entail a small amount of legal work, he said.
Typically, the recipient of an easement also pays the party granting the easement for the rights they are getting on that party's land. If James and Sara Biden paid the Virgin Islands territorial government for the driveway rights, it was not reflected in property records.
A tax bill from 2006 lists the assessed value of Green's parcel at $87,000, but tax records indicate the bill was rescinded. Subsequent tax bills list the assessed value of Green's plot at just $38,000 '-- a quarter of the $150,000 purchase price '-- until 2013, when it jumped to $83,700. Typically, land sells for more than its assessed value.
A person answering the phone at John Foster Real Estate, a local realtor, identified Chuck Gidley as the agent listed on the original 2005 transaction.
Gidley declined to comment.
Scott Green's career has been tied to Joe Biden's, from his days as a member of Biden's Senate staff to his work as a lobbyist on projects of special interest to Biden.
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As a young man, Green played linebacker for the University of Delaware football team, overlapping at the school with James Biden for a few semesters, and graduated in 1973. He is best known for his work as an NFL referee, having led the officiating crew at Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. He is currently listed as the executive director of the NFL Referees Association, which acts as a bargaining representative in labor negotiations.
Referee Scott Green makes a call in the second half of the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens NFL football game on Nov. 13, 2011, in Seattle. | Elaine Thompson/AP Photo
At the same time, Green has led a parallel career in Washington. After working as a probation officer after college, Green accepted an offer from Biden in the early 1980s for a job on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he worked for a decade in roles that included staff assistant and senior advisor.
From the Senate, Green pivoted to the private sector.
In 1994, he co-founded Lafayette Group, a lobbying and consulting firm focused on law enforcement and national security that is now headed by his son.
The firm's website features a photo of Green with Biden. It also quotes Biden praising his former staffer's commitment to law enforcement, saying, ''Scott Green was emotionally invested. It wasn't just a job for him; it was an emotional investment.''
Government contracts for niche support services for law enforcement and national security agencies have been central to the firm's business over the years, according to a firm history posted on its website.
In the Senate, Biden over the years proposed appropriations for many of the niche areas in which the firm specialized, including ''interoperable communications'' for first responders and ''fusion centers'' for processing threat-related intelligence.
Lafayette Group's government contracting business extended into the Obama years, as did Green's ties to Joe Biden. Government data shows tens of million of dollars in contract awards to the firm from federal agencies over the course of the Obama administration.
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If Joe Biden knew of his brother's dealings, he should have stopped allowing Green to lobby him or his staff, according Richard Painter, a former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, who recently became a Democrat.
''It's really time to send a message to the lobbyist that 'If you're doing deals with my brother, I really can't see you,'" Painter said. It is not clear whether such measures were ever taken in response to the property deals.
In both January and September of 2010, Green met with a Biden aide in the Old Executive Office Building, according to White House visitor logs, which do not record the purpose of those meetings. In May of that year, he attended a reception in honor of firefighters and law enforcement officials at the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory, according to the logs.
Among Lafayette Group's biggest single days for government business during the Obama years was April 11, 2010, when records show it received two awards from the Federal Emergency Management Agency worth a total of $5.8 million as a subcontractor to Booz Allen Hamilton. Lafayette Group was charged with providing ''Support for [the Office of Emergency Communications] contract developing communications strategies,'' according to a description of the award. There is no indication that Biden played a role in the awarding of the contract.
On April 14 of that year, Green and his wife gave James and Sara Biden a $133,300 mortgage on their remaining Water Island real estate, according to property records.
Top Left: Photo of land owned by Jim Biden. Top Right: Photo of land owned by Scott Green. Bottom: Satellite image identifying lots owned by Jim Biden and Scott Green. | Alain Brin/POLITICO; Google Earth
This was not the first time a Biden-tied lobbyist had figured into James Biden's personal finances. In an unrelated episode, he and Joe's son, Hunter, took out loans worth seven figures from WashingtonFirst Bank to repay a business debt around 2006. The bank was co-founded by a lobbyist and Biden adviser who was also a lobbying partner of Hunter Biden's for several years. A former executive at the bank previously told POLITICO that James and Hunter repaid that loan.
In September 2013, the Greens released the Water Island mortgage, saying they had ''received full payment and full satisfaction,'' according to property records.
From 2012 to 2018, according to Lafayette Group's firm history, it received contracts tied to at least one government program championed by Biden: the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.
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The network, which set aside broadband internet spectrum for first responders, was proposed following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to improve emergency communications in the event of disaster and endorsed by the 9/11 Commission.
Among the biggest proponents of creating the network was the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a police association that hired Green as a lobbyist in 2007 and was represented by Lafayette Group until Dec 6, 2019.
In the Senate, Biden supported setting aside broadband spectrum for the network both before and after Green registered to lobby for the police group, but the initiative encountered years of delays.
As vice president, Biden was the administration's chief advocate for the creation of the network, making the public case for it and guiding legislation through Congress that reserved broadband spectrum for it.
''We owe you,'' Biden told a group of police officers in Alexandria, Virginia, promoting the measure in September 2011. ''We said we'd give you what you need, and we told the public they'd have what they needed to be protected.''
The creation of the network finally passed as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.
When the Department of Homeland Security set about launching the initiative, it contracted with Lafayette Group to persuade state authorities to participate in the network, according to the firm's website. In total, Lafayette Group has received more than $10 million in contracts for work related to the network, now called FirstNet, according to government data.
Reached by phone, Lafayette Group's current CEO, Green's son Keil Green, asked a reporter to call him back the following day. He did not respond to follow-up communications.
Another lobbying client of Green's, the non-profit Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, had benefited from Biden's support over the course of more than two decades, both before and after Green's land purchase.
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The program, known as D.A.R.E. America, began in Los Angeles in 1983, and, helped by federal backing, grew along with the War on Drugs. D.A.R.E, which sent police officers into classrooms to warn against drug use, enjoyed bipartisan support and was eventually implemented in the vast majority of school districts in the United States.
After leaving Capitol Hill, Green signed up D.A.R.E. as a client in the early '90s and lobbied his old boss on behalf of the program. Green made $40,000 a year in lobbying fees from the drug education program from 1999 to 2010, the years for which his lobbying disclosures are available online.
Biden ensured its inclusion in the 1994 Crime Bill, making it eligible to compete for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds.
"As you know, it's a pretty popular program, so it wasn't a question of not including it," a Biden staffer told Reason magazine at the time.
Top: Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the Alexandria Police Department about the American Jobs Act on September 29, 2011, in Alexandria, Virginia. Bottom: Actor Erik Estrada and former gymnast Nadia Comaneci (center) pose with D.A.R.E. students during a D.A.R.E. rally on April 11, 2002, in North Hollywood, California. | Getty Images
D.A.R.E. was in fact popular with schools and police departments, but it was also controversial.
Research consistently showed it was ineffective at its stated purpose of curbing substance abuse. It also cost taxpayers money.
The 1995 Reason article cited an estimate from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that the program was taking in about $40 million in federal funding annually, despite research showing it was ineffective.
Over the following years, the program faced mounting criticism from researchers and skeptics of the war on drugs as more studies piled up '-- from universities, the Surgeon General and the Government Accountability Office '-- concluding it was ineffective at preventing drug abuse.
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Yet Biden's support for the program continued through his time in the Senate.
In Biden's final few years in the Senate, he continued to act as one of D.A.R.E's top proponents in Congress, helping secure its funding, even as critical news coverage in The Columbus Dispatch and Harper's Magazine noted the evidence of the program's ineffectiveness and cited Biden's relationship to Green as a possible reason for the senator's support. After congressional reforms required legislators to attach their names to earmark requests, disclosures for the fiscal year 2008 budget show that Biden, along with Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and the late Ted Stevens of Alaska, co-sponsored a $450,000 Senate earmark for Justice Department funding for D.A.R.E. The earmark died in conference.
A spokesman for Grassley, Michael Zona, said staffers who would be familiar with the details of the 2008 earmark have since left Grassley's office, but he pointed out that Grassley and Biden had co-chaired the Senate Drug Caucus. ''There's nothing unusual at that time about a grant like this,'' Zona said, ''But I couldn't speak specifically to this grant.''
In the years since the land deals, the U.S. Virgin Islands have been a favored destination for the Biden clan. In between election night 2008 and Barack Obama's inauguration, Biden and his family traveled to Water Island over the winter holidays. As vice president, he returned to the island over the next two holiday seasons.
News coverage of Biden's travel to the small island said he was visiting ''family friends'' but did not name them.
The undeveloped land owned by Green and his brother is abutted on one side by a nature conversancy and by Virgin Islands government land on the other.
One Water Island landowner, who asked not to be named discussing a sensitive subject, said the Bidens learned about the ''forgotten little island'' through family friends from Baltimore, but that those friends were not among the island's hundred-odd residents. The landowner said the Bidens rented a house when visiting the island.
"I was amazed that the Bidens ever wanted to come down there,'' she said, citing the logistical challenges of traveling to the remote island, which normally requires taking a boat from nearby St. Thomas. ''I guess it's where you want to go when you want to get away from the rat race of D.C., and supervision, and observation."
Water Island. | Alain Brin/POLITICO
In late 2009, the entertainment outlet E! News reported that a Biden relative had called neighbors on the island, looking for a place to put up the vice president, and one family agreed to cancel their vacation plans so that Biden could use their home. A Biden spokeswoman told E! News at the time that a realtor had made the request, not a Biden relative.
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An Airbnb listing for a treehouse cottage at ''Shipwreck Point'' on the island states that Biden has stayed at the rental property with his family and entourage. The owner of the property did not respond to a request for comment.
In the later years of the Obama administration, Biden and his family continued to vacation annually in the Virgin Islands, but on St. Croix. The Water Island landowner said the Bidens switched to the larger island because it was more practical for traveling with an entourage that included Secret Service agents.
Over the holiday season before launching his presidential campaign, Biden again traveled to St. Croix, where he was spotted on New Year's Day 2019.
St. Croix resident Devin Boyd takes a snapshot after running into with former Vice President Joe Biden at Point Udall shortly after dawn, Jan. 1, 2019. | (Devin Boyd photo provided by Alice Henry)
Opinion | Surprise, Mr. President. John Bolton Has the Goods. - The New York Times
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:25
Who's telling the truth about Ukraine? There's one way to find out.
By The Editorial Board
The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.
Jan. 27, 2020According to John Bolton, right, President Trump wanted to continue freezing security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. Credit... Al Drago for The New York Times It's just possible that common sense and reality have a shot at prying open the doors to the Senate chamber after all. After Republican senators claimed that it was perfectly reasonable to put a United States president on trial without hearing from any witnesses, a few of them are showing signs of recognizing that the truth matters. Or, at least, that the American people believe it does.
What's changed? Shocking but not surprising revelations from John Bolton's book manuscript, which The New York Times reported over the weekend, have made impossible to ignore what everyone has known for months: President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine to benefit himself politically, and against the strenuous objections of his top aides and both parties in Congress.
On Monday morning, Mitt Romney, of Utah, said, ''I think it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.''
It's refreshing to hear those words. And yet the fact that such a statement is noteworthy at all tells you how far from responsible governance Republicans have strayed. They hold 53 seats in the Senate, and yet the nation is waiting on just four '-- four!'-- to do the right thing and agree to call Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser, and other key witnesses to testify in Mr. Trump's impeachment trial.
A far more representative attitude in the Republican caucus was expressed by Roy Blunt, of Missouri, who said on Monday, ''Unless there's a witness that's going to change the outcome, I can't imagine why we'd want to stretch this out for weeks and months.'' With this tautology Senator Blunt gives away the game: All witness testimony to date '-- all presented as part of the House impeachment proceedings '-- has only strengthened the case against Mr. Trump, but Republicans will not vote to convict him under any circumstances. By definition, then, no witness in the Senate could possibly change the outcome.
The reporting on Mr. Bolton's manuscript, which is scheduled for publication in March, has scrambled that strategy. Mr. Bolton's foreign-policy disagreements with Mr. Trump have been public knowledge for months. Last fall, Fiona Hill, a Russia expert and former Bolton aide, testified in the House that Mr. Bolton was alarmed by Mr. Trump's aid-for-investigations scheme, which Mr. Bolton characterized as a ''drug deal.''
In the manuscript, detailed descriptions of which were leaked to The Times, he recounts nearly a dozen instances in which he and other top administration officials pleaded with Mr. Trump to release the aid, to no avail. He describes Mr. Trump's fixation on conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, and about the supposed corruption of Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine. He says that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted privately to him that he knew there was nothing to the theories regarding Ms. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump fired last spring.
Mr. Bolton, a hard-line conservative with decades of service in Republican administrations, is no anti-Trump zealot, which makes his allegations against the president that much more devastating. And his decision to tell these stories publicly nearly certainly waives any claims of executive privilege Mr. Trump might try to assert over their communications.
Let's not forget the newly revealed evidence that came to light on Saturday, in the form of a tape recording released by the lawyer for Lev Parnas, who had worked for Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, in the Ukraine scheme. Mr. Trump has denied even knowing Mr. Parnas, but on the tape the two men can be heard in conversation at a dinner in April 2018. ''Get rid of her,'' Mr. Trump said of Ms. Yovanovitch. ''Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.''
In a late-night tweet, Mr. Trump angrily denied Mr. Bolton's allegations. ''I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,'' Mr. Trump wrote.
You know what would be a good way to figure out who's telling the truth? Subpoena Mr. Bolton to testify under oath.
This isn't a close call. A majority of Americans of all political stripes want to hear from Mr. Bolton, at the least. They believe, as do congressional Democrats, that you can't vote on whether to remove a president from office without getting the fullest possible account of his alleged offenses.
But Senate Republicans have so far refused to hear from any witnesses or to demand any documents, following the lead of Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, who has never hesitated to undermine the country's institutions if he thinks doing so will help his party. Mr. McConnell and nearly all in his caucus seem to imagine that if they block their eyes and ears and let their mouths run, the turbulence of impeachment will eventually pass.
This is a risky strategy. One reason good lawyers insist on deposing witnesses and subpoenaing documentary evidence is to avoid any unwelcome surprises at trial. Mr. Bolton has now provided the latest of those surprises. It is surely not the last.
The most galling part is that Republicans have already admitted how bad the president's behavior was. Back in September, Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican and one of Mr. Trump's staunchest defenders, said: ''What would've been wrong is if the president had suggested to the Ukrainian government that if you don't do what I want you to do regarding the Bidens, we're not going to give you the aid. That was the accusation; that did not remotely happen.''
Except that it did, as Mr. Bolton is apparently willing to say under oath. Republicans don't want him to do that because they don't want Americans to exercise the simple good judgment that Mr. Graham once did.
Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says - The New York Times
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:25
Drafts of the book outline the potential testimony of the former national security adviser if he were called as a witness in the president's impeachment trial.
Democrats managing President Trump's impeachment trial have long sought testimony from John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser. Credit... Doug Mills/The New York Times Published Jan. 26, 2020Updated Jan. 27, 2020, 6:14 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON '-- President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
The president's statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump's requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.
Mr. Bolton's explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump's impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.
Multiple people described Mr. Bolton's account of the Ukraine affair.
The book presents an outline of what Mr. Bolton might testify to if he is called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial, the people said. The White House could use the pre-publication review process, which has no set time frame, to delay or even kill the book's publication or omit key passages.
Just after midnight on Monday, Mr. Trump denied telling Mr. Bolton that the aid was tied to investigations. ''If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,'' he wrote on Twitter, reprising his argument that the Ukrainians themselves felt ''no pressure'' and falsely asserting that the aid was released ahead of schedule.
Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president's private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.
For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president's lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.
Mr. Bolton also said that after the president's July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.
And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.
During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.
The White House did not provide responses to questions about Mr. Bolton's assertions, and representatives for Mr. Johnson, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Bolton's lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book's contents. ''It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,'' the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, said Sunday night.
He said he provided a copy of the book to the White House on Dec. 30 '-- 12 days after Mr. Trump was impeached '-- to be reviewed for classified information, though, he said, Mr. Bolton believed it contained none.
The submission to the White House may have given Mr. Trump's aides and lawyers direct insight into what Mr. Bolton would say if he were called to testify at Mr. Trump's impeachment trial. It also intensified concerns among some of his advisers that they needed to block Mr. Bolton from testifying, according to two people familiar with their concerns.
The White House has ordered Mr. Bolton and other key officials with firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump's dealings not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Bolton said in a statement this month that he would testify if subpoenaed.
In recent days, some White House officials have described Mr. Bolton as a disgruntled former employee, and have said he took notes that he should have left behind when he departed the administration.
Mr. Trump told reporters last week that he did not want Mr. Bolton to testify and said that even if he simply spoke out publicly, he could damage national security.
''The problem with John is it's a national security problem,'' Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. ''He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it's not very positive?''
''It's going to make the job very hard,'' he added.
The Senate impeachment trial could end as early as Friday without witness testimony. Democrats in both the House and Senate have pressed for weeks to include any new witnesses and documents that did not surface during the House impeachment hearings to be fair, focusing on persuading the handful of Republican senators they would need to join them to succeed.
But a week into the trial, most lawmakers say the chances of 51 senators agreeing to call witnesses are dwindling, not growing.
Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said the Bolton manuscript underscored the need for him to testify, and the House impeachment managers demanded after this article was published that the Senate vote to call him. ''There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president's defense,'' they said in a statement.
Republicans, though, were mostly silent; a spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declined to comment.
Mr. Bolton would like to testify for several reasons, according to associates. He believes he has relevant information, and he has also expressed concern that if his account of the Ukraine affair emerges only after the trial, he will be accused of holding back to increase his book sales.
Mr. Bolton, 71, a fixture in conservative national security circles since his days in the Reagan administration, joined the White House in 2018 after several people recommended him to the president, including the Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.
But Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump soured on each other over several global crises, including Iranian aggression, Mr. Trump's posture toward Russia and, ultimately, the Ukraine matter. Mr. Bolton was also often at odds with Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney throughout his time in the administration.
Key to Mr. Bolton's account about Ukraine is an exchange during a meeting in August with the president after Mr. Trump returned from vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Mr. Bolton raised the $391 million in congressionally appropriated assistance to Ukraine for its war in the country's east against Russian-backed separatists. Officials had frozen the aid, and a deadline was looming to begin sending it to Kyiv, Mr. Bolton noted.
He, Mr. Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper had collectively pressed the president about releasing the aid nearly a dozen times in the preceding weeks after lower-level officials who worked on Ukraine issues began complaining about the holdup, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Trump had effectively rebuffed them, airing his longstanding grievances about Ukraine, which mixed legitimate efforts by some Ukrainians to back his Democratic 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, with unsupported accusations and outright conspiracy theories about the country, a key American ally.
Mr. Giuliani had also spent months stoking the president's paranoia about the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, claiming that she was openly anti-Trump and needed to be dismissed. Mr. Trump had ordered her removed as early as April 2018 during a private dinner with two Giuliani associates and others, a recording of the conversation made public on Saturday showed.
In his August 2019 discussion with Mr. Bolton, the president appeared focused on the theories Mr. Giuliani had shared with him, replying to Mr. Bolton's question that he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine.
The president often hits at multiple opponents in his harangues, and he frequently lumps together the law enforcement officials who conducted the Russia inquiry with Democrats and other perceived enemies, as he appeared to do in speaking to Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Bolton also described other key moments in the pressure campaign, including Mr. Pompeo's private acknowledgment to him last spring that Mr. Giuliani's claims about Ms. Yovanovitch had no basis and that Mr. Giuliani may have wanted her removed because she might have been targeting his clients who had dealings in Ukraine as she sought to fight corruption.
Ms. Yovanovitch, a Canadian immigrant whose parents fled the Soviet Union and Nazis, was a well-regarded career diplomat who was known as a vigorous fighter against corruption in Ukraine. She was abruptly removed last year and told the president had lost trust in her, even though a boss assured her she had ''done nothing wrong.''
Mr. Bolton also said he warned White House lawyers that Mr. Giuliani might have been leveraging his work with the president to help his private clients.
At the impeachment trial, Mr. Trump himself had hoped to have his defense call a range of people to testify who had nothing to do with his efforts related to Ukraine, including Hunter Biden, to frame the case around Democrats. But Mr. McConnell repeatedly told the president that witnesses could backfire, and the White House has followed his lead.
Mr. McConnell and other Republicans in the Senate, working in tandem with Mr. Trump's lawyers, have spent weeks waging their own rhetorical battle to keep their colleagues within the party tent on the question of witnesses, with apparent success. Two of the four Republican senators publicly open to witness votes have sounded notes of skepticism in recent days about the wisdom of having the Senate compel testimony that the House did not get.
Since Mr. Bolton's statement, White House advisers have floated the possibility that they could go to court to try to obtain a restraining order to stop him from speaking. Such an order would be unprecedented, but any attempt to secure it could succeed in tying up his testimony in legal limbo and scaring off Republican moderates wary of letting the trial drag on when its outcome appears clear.
Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.
Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says - The New York Times
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:31
Politics | Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book SaysThe former national security adviser shared his unease with the attorney general, who cited his own worries about the president's conversations with the leaders of Turkey and China.
According to John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Attorney General William P. Barr was concerned about President Trump's conversations with autocratic leaders in two countries. Credit... Tom Brenner/Reuters Published Jan. 27, 2020Updated Jan. 28, 2020, 12:54 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON '-- John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China.
Mr. Bolton's account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump's seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas.
Mr. Bolton recounted his discussion with Mr. Barr in a draft of an unpublished book manuscript that he submitted nearly a month ago to the White House for review. People familiar with the manuscript described its contents on the condition of anonymity.
The book also contains an account of Mr. Trump telling Mr. Bolton in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations of political rivals, The New York Times reported on Sunday. The matter is at the heart of the articles of impeachment against the president.
Early Tuesday, the Justice Department's spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, posted a statement on Twitter disputing aspects of Mr. Bolton's account.
''There was no discussion of 'personal favors' or 'undue influence' on investigations, nor did Attorney General Barr state that the President's conversations with foreign leaders was improper,'' the statement said. ''If this is truly what Mr. Bolton has written, then it seems he is attributing to Attorney General Barr his own current views '-- views with which Attorney General Barr does not agree.''
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment on Mr. Barr's conversations with Mr. Bolton. In a statement on Monday, Mr. Bolton, his publisher and his literary agency said they had not shared the manuscript with The Times.
''There was absolutely no coordination with The New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, 'The Room Where It Happened,' at online booksellers,'' Mr. Bolton, Simon & Schuster and Javelin said in a joint statement. ''Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation.''
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, responded that ''The Times does not discuss its sources, but I should point out that no one has questioned the accuracy of our report.''
Mr. Bolton wrote in the manuscript that Mr. Barr singled out Mr. Trump's conversations with Mr. Xi about the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE, which agreed in 2017 to plead guilty and pay heavy fines for violating American sanctions on doing business with North Korea, Iran and other countries. A year later, Mr. Trump lifted the sanctions over objections from his own advisers and Republican lawmakers.
Mr. Barr also cited remarks Mr. Trump made to Mr. Erdogan in 2018 about the investigation of Halkbank, Turkey's second-largest state-owned bank. The Justice Department was scrutinizing Halkbank on fraud and money-laundering charges for helping Iran evade sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department.
Mr. Erdogan had been making personal appeals to Mr. Trump to use his authority to halt any additional enforcement against the bank. In 2018, Mr. Erdogan told reporters in Turkey that Mr. Trump had promised to instruct cabinet members to follow through on the matter. The bank had hired a top Republican fund-raiser to lobby the administration on the issue.
For months, it looked as though the unusual lobbying effort might succeed; but in October, the Justice Department indicted the bank for aiding Iran. The charges were seen in part as an attempt by the administration to show that it was taking a tough line on Turkey amid an outcry over Mr. Trump's endorsement of its incursions in Syria.
Mr. Bolton's statements in the book align with other comments he has made since leaving the White House in September. In November, he said in a private speech that none of Mr. Trump's advisers shared the president's views on Turkey and that he believed Mr. Trump adopted a more permissive approach to the country because of his financial ties there, NBC News reported. Mr. Trump's company has a property in Turkey.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly praised dictators throughout his presidency. Last year, he said, ''Where's my favorite dictator?'' as he waited to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Mr. Trump's soft spot for authoritarians dates at least to his presidential campaign, when he praised Saddam Hussein for being ''good'' at killing terrorists and suggested that the world would be better off were Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the deposed Libyan dictator who was killed in a violent uprising in 2011, ''in charge right now.'' Mr. Trump then suggested the ouster of both men was ultimately worse for the Middle East because the Islamic State had filled the void.
Mr. Trump declared himself ''a big fan'' of Mr. Erdogan as they sat side by side in the Oval Office last fall after Mr. Trump cleared the way for Turkish forces to invade Syria, though he warned Mr. Erdogan behind the scenes against the offensive.
Of Mr. Xi, Mr. Trump has been similarly effusive. When the Chinese Communist Party eliminated term limits, allowing Mr. Xi to keep his tenure open-ended, Mr. Trump extolled the outcome.
Mr. Xi had personally asked Mr. Trump to intervene to save ZTE, which was on the brink of collapse because of tough American penalties for sanctions violations.
Lifting the sanctions on ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications giant that also serves as a geopolitical pawn for its government, most likely helped Mr. Trump negotiate with Mr. Xi in the trade war between the two countries. But Republican lawmakers and others objected to helping a Chinese company that broke the law and has been accused of posing a national security threat.
Mr. Bolton's reputation for muscular foreign policy was always an odd fit with Mr. Trump, who often threatens excessive force but rarely reacts with it. Mr. Bolton was pleased when Mr. Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, that the Obama administration had entered into. Other Trump advisers had urged him against it.
But Mr. Trump's lack of action after Iranian aggression against the United States rankled Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Bolton's book has already netted significant sales. Shortly after the disclosure of its contents on Sunday night, Amazon listed the book for purchase. By Monday evening, it was No. 17 on Amazon's best-seller list.
Eric Lipton contributed reporting.
NSC aide handling book approvals is twin brother of Lt. Col. Vindman: Report - Washington Times
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:01
The twin brother of a key administration impeachment witness against President Trump is in charge of the National Security Council's process for reviewing publications by current and former NSC officials, according to a new report on Monday.
Breitbart reported that Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a senior ethics lawyer for the NSC, is in charge of reviewing publications such as the book manuscript submitted to the NSC on Dec. 30 by former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The report cited a source close to the administration. The NSC had no immediate comment.
Mr. Bolton allegedly has written that the president informed him that he was withholding military aid from Ukraine in return for an investigation of Democrat Joseph R. Biden, an accusation at the heart of the impeachment case.
Yevgeny Vindman is the identical twin brother of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, one of Democrats' main witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. Alexander Vindman testified that he told his brother about Mr. Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Mr. Trump is accused of pressuring his counterpart for a Biden investigation.
Alexander Vindman told impeachment investigators that his sibling witnessed the decision to move the call's transcript to a top-secret server.
Word of the Bolton manuscript's allegations was published Sunday night by The New York Times in the midst of the president's impeachment trial.
Mr. Bolton's lawyer, Chuck Cooper, issued a statement Sunday night saying that the New York Times' article showed ''the prepublication review process [at the NSC] has been corrupted.''
According to Mr. Bolton's manuscript, Mr. Trump said he wanted the aid held up until Ukraine officials turned over all materials they had about the Russia probe that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The newspaper did not view the manuscript but was told about it by multiple people who had read it. The report said that manuscripts had been circulated among close associates of Mr. Bolton and a copy was submitted to the NSA for review, as is standard procedure for books written by former administration officials.
Mr. Trump rejected a reported claim by Mr. Bolton early Monday that he tied military aid to Ukraine to investigations of Democratic candidate Joseph R. Biden.
''I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,'' the president tweeted after midnight. ''In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.''
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OTG
Google Docs went down and everyone panicked
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:42
Welp, hope you weren't planning on getting work done today.
Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides all briefly went down Monday due to an unknown issue, which appeared to affect both the consumer and business versions of Google's productivity apps.
The source of the issue wasn't immediately clear. A Google spokesperson referred to the company's G Suite Dashboard, which indicated Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Classroom were all experiencing a "service disruption" as of 10:30 a.m. PT.
"We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Docs," the site says. "We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are unable to access Google Docs."
By 10:46 a.m. PT, the dashboard was updated to say that the issue "should be resolved," and that "system reliability is a top priority at Google."
While Google's productivity apps didn't seem to be universally down '-- some users reported that the apps were still functioning during the reported down time '-- the outage seemed to be widespread. An outage map on downdetector.com, which tracks service disruptions, showed that much of the U.S. experienced issues. (Disclaimer: Downdetector.com is owned by ZiffDavis, which also owns Mashable.)
Meanwhile, on Twitter, frustrated office workers were doing what they do best in these situations, as Google Docs and Google Drive quickly started to trend.
Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:27
Ring isn't just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers.
An investigation by EFF of the Ring doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers' personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.
The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user's device. This cohesive whole represents a fingerprint that follows the user as they interact with other apps and use their device, in essence providing trackers the ability to spy on what a user is doing in their digital lives and when they are doing it. All this takes place without meaningful user notification or consent and, in most cases, no way to mitigate the damage done. Even when this information is not misused and employed for precisely its stated purpose (in most cases marketing), this can lead to a whole host of social ills .
Ring has exhibited a pattern of behavior that attempts to mitigate exposure to criticism and scrutiny while benefiting from the wide array of customer data available to them. It has been able to do so by leveraging an image of the secure home, while profiting from a surveillance network which facilitates police departments' unprecedented access into the private lives of citizens, as we have previously covered . For consumers, this image has cultivated a sense of trust in Ring that should be shaken by the reality of how the app functions: not only does Ring mismanage consumer data, but it also intentionally hands over that data to trackers and data miners.
Findings
Our testing, using Ring for Android version 3.21.1, revealed PII delivery to branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com. Facebook, via its Graph API , is alerted when the app is opened and upon device actions such as app deactivation after screen lock due to inactivity. Information delivered to Facebook (even if you don't have a Facebook account) includes time zone, device model, language preferences, screen resolution, and a unique identifier (anon_id), which persists even when you reset the OS-level advertiser ID.
Branch, which describes itself as a ''deep linking'' platform, receives a number of unique identifiers (device_fingerprint_id, hardware_id, identity_id) as well as your device's local IP address, model, screen resolution, and DPI.
AppsFlyer , a big data company focused on the mobile platform, is given a wide array of information upon app launch as well as certain user actions, such as interacting with the ''Neighbors'' section of the app. This information includes your mobile carrier, when Ring was installed and first launched, a number of unique identifiers, the app you installed from, and whether AppsFlyer tracking came preinstalled on the device. This last bit of information is presumably to determine whether AppsFlyer tracking was included as bloatware on a low-end Android device. Manufacturers often offset the costs of device production by selling consumer data, a practice that disproportionately affects low-income earners and was the subject of a recent petition to Google initiated by Privacy International and co-signed by EFF.
Most alarmingly, AppsFlyer also receives the sensors installed on your device (on our test device, this included the magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer) and current calibration settings.
Ring gives MixPanel the most information by far. Users' full names, email addresses, device information such as OS version and model, whether bluetooth is enabled, and app settings such as the number of locations a user has Ring devices installed in, are all collected and reported to MixPanel. MixPanel is briefly mentioned in Ring's list of third party services , but the extent of their data collection is not. None of the other trackers listed in this post are mentioned at all on this page.
Ring also sends information to the Google-owned crash logging service Crashalytics . The exact extent of data sharing with this service is yet to be determined.
Data delivered to api.branch.io
Data delivered to api.mixpanel.com
Data delivered to graph.facebook.com
Data delivered to t.appsflyer.com
Methodology
All traffic we observed on the app was being sent using encrypted HTTPS. What's more, the encrypted information was delivered in a way that eludes analysis, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for security researchers to learn of and report these serious privacy breaches.
Our dynamic analysis was performed using mitmproxy running on an access point to intercept and analyze HTTPS flows from an Android test device. To remove noise generated from other apps, we installed the AFWall+ firewall app and only allowed network traffic from Ring. mitmproxy generates a root x509 certificate which is to be installed in the OS-level certificate store in Android, allowing active interception to take place on otherwise secured traffic. This led us to the initial discovery that the root certificate was not being accepted as valid, and that some form of certificate pinning was being employed by the app.
App-level certificate pinning is when an app validates the certificates of a remote server against a record of that certificate stored within the app, rather than validating against the list of root certificates within the OS. This is often used as a security measure, to ensure that misissuance of certificates or mismanagement along the chain of trust in PKI does not compromise the integrity, confidentiality, or authenticity of HTTPS traffic. Unfortunately, it can also prevent security researchers and users from seeing exactly what information these devices are sending, and to whom. In the case of Ring, we initially observed all intercepted traffic upon launch being rejected, and were not able to observe any communications.
mitmproxy screen displaying results of certificate pinning
It was only through the powerful dynamic analysis framework Frida that we were able to inject code into Ring at runtime, which ensured that the certificate provided by our mitmproxy instance would be accepted as valid. This allowed us to inspect all HTTPS traffic sent through the app.
Conclusion
Ring claims to prioritize the security and privacy of its customers, yet time and again we've seen these claims not only fall short, but harm the customers and community members who engage with Ring's surveillance system. In the past, we've illuminated the mismanagement of user information which has led to data breaches, and the attempt to place the blame for such blunders at the customers' feet.
This goes a step beyond that, by simply delivering sensitive data to third parties not accountable to Ring or bound by the trust placed in the customer-vendor relationship. As we've mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network. In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address. This data is given to parties either only mentioned briefly, buried on an internal page users are unlikely to ever see, or not listed at all.
mitmproxy flow files:
Ring app is handing over user data to Facebook, Google and other third-parties, report finds | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:26
Amazon's Ring is under fire yet again.
Security experts discovered that the Android app is sending customers' personally identifiable information to Facebook, Google and other third-parties without permission.
The names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers and sensor data were discovered in the exchange.
The report also found that some Ring users whose identify was shared with Facebook do not have an account with the social media network.
The findings were uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit organizations that defends civil liberties in the digital world, which noted the information was encrypted in a way that it would go undetected by security researchers.
Scroll down for video
Ring's Android app was found to be 'packed' with third-party tracking, which it uses to send customers' personally identifiable information to Facebook, Google and other third-parties
While examining Ring's updated Android app, the organization discovered four unlisted trackers lurking in the shadows that were sending user data back and forth to websites including branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com.
Ring also sends information to the Google-owned crash logging service.
'All traffic we observed on the app was being sent using encrypted HTTPS,' EFF shared in the report.
'What's more, the encrypted information was delivered in a way that eludes analysis, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for security researchers to learn of and report these serious privacy breaches.'
Ring's privacy policy makes clear that it uses web analytics services.
'The service providers that administer these services use automated technologies to collect data (such as email and IP addresses) to evaluate use of our websites and mobile apps,' it reads.
However, the company behind the device also notes that it will identify which third-party services specifically are used by the company.
While examining Ring's updated Android app, the organization discovered four unlisted trackers lurking in the shadows that were sending user data back and forth to websites including branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com. Ring also sends information to the Google-owned crash logging service
Out of the companies being fed data only MixPanel is mentioned in Ring's privacy notice, along with Google Analytics, HotJar and Optimizely. '' but does not include Facebook.
'The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user's device,' EFF said.
According to Gizmodo, a ring spokerperson told them that 'that Ring takes steps to ensure its service providers' use of customer data is 'contractually limited to appropriate purposes such as performing these services on our behalf and not for other purposes.'
However, EFF is not sold on these claims.
'Ring claims to prioritize the security and privacy of its customers, yet time and again we've seen these claims not only fall short, but harm the customers and community members who engage with Ring's surveillance system,' it wrote in the report.
'As we've mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network.'
'In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address. This data is given to parties either only mentioned briefly, buried on an internal page users are unlikely to ever see, or not listed at all.'
Ring and Amazon found themselves in hot water last December when they were hit with a lawsuit, accusing them of failing to protect their customers from hackers.
The complaint, filed in US District Court for the Central District of California on Thursday, claims that Ring and Jeff Bezos' Amazon, which bought the company last year, were negligent by not putting in place 'robust' security measures.
According to the lawsuit, first reported by TMZ, there have been at least six other instances involving Ring security systems getting hacked across the US in recent years.
WHAT IS RING AND WHY DID AMAZON BUY IT?Amazon acquired home security startup Ring for a reported £700 million ($1 billion).
The home security startup sells doorbells that capture video and audio.
Clips can be streamed on smartphones and other devices, while the doorbell even allows homeowners to remotely chat to those standing at their door.
Ring sells doorbells (left) that capture video and audio. Clips can be streamed on smartphones and other devices, while the doorbell even allows homeowners to remotely chat to those standing at their door
Ring promotes its gadgets as a way to catch package thieves, a nuisance that Amazon has been looking to remedy.
Amazon late last year unveiled its own smart lock and camera combination called Amazon Key in a move into home security.
Key is designed to provide a secure and trackable way for packages to be delivered inside homes when people aren't there.
Amazon has bought home security startup Ring for a reported £700 million ($1 billion)
Ring's doorbell could work well with Amazon Key, which lets delivery personnel put packages inside a home to avoid theft or, in the case of fresh food, spoiling.
California-based Ring first caught the spotlight with a failed quest for funding about five years ago on reality television show Shark Tank.
Ring went on to win backing from the likes of billionaire Richard Branson and Amazon's Alexa Fund.
Amazon engineer says Ring should be 'shut down immediately' - Business Insider
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:44
An Amazon software engineer named Max Eliaser said the home-security company Ring should be "shut down immediately.""The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck," Eliaser said.Eliaser's comments were part of a post in which hundreds of Amazon employees shared their views on various company policies and products.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.An Amazon engineer criticized the home-security camera company Ring, saying it should be "shut down immediately."
"The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society," Max Eliaser, an Amazon software-development engineer, said in a post published on Medium on Sunday. "The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back."
Eliaser's comments are striking because Ring is owned by Amazon, whose corporate employees rarely speak out against the company. (Amazon bars employees from speaking about the company without prior approval.)
Amazon and Ring did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Amazon acquired Ring, which makes video doorbells and home security cameras, in 2018. The camera company has recently faced scrutiny over privacy issues, mostly around its agreements with law-enforcement agencies and problems with hackers accessing the devices.
Some of Ring's own employees have also abused access to customer feeds, the company told lawmakers recently.
The Medium post quoting Eliaser included critical comments from hundreds of Amazon employees about various Amazon policies and products. It was published Sunday by the advocacy group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and meant to protest the company's external-communications policy.
Health-Records Company Pushed Opioids to Doctors in Secret Deal With Drugmaker
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:19
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Health-Records Company Pushed Opioids to Doctors in Secret Deal - Bloomberg
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:18
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Placer.ai raises $12 million to keep tabs on foot traffic in real time | VentureBeat
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 11:34
Measuring foot traffic in real time is the pursuit of countless businesses seeking greater insight into buyer behavior. Startups like PlaceIQ, Factual, GroundTruth, Skyhook, and others have risen up to meet the need '-- they occupy a market that's estimated to be worth $22.8 billion by 2024. A somewhat newer entrant is Placer.ai, which was cofounded in 2016 by Noam Ben-Zvi, Oded Fossfeld, Ofir Lemel, and Zohar Bar-Yehuda. It might not rival location data giants like FourSquare and ThinkNear, but it managed to nab $12 million this week in a funding round led by BV Capital with participation from Aleph, Reciprocal Ventures, OCA Ventures, existing investors, and an undisclosed group of new strategic investors.
According to CEO Ben-Zvi, the fresh capital '-- which brings Tel Aviv- and Los Altos, California-based Placer's total raised to over $16 million '-- will bolster operations and product development. ''Placer lifts the fog and empowers all professionals with actionable insights into any location, enabling better, faster decisions,'' he said in a statement. ''This results in smarter growth, more sustainable businesses, and allows newer players to enter the market.''
Placer's eponymous platform provides foot traffic counts and dwell times, as well as ''true trade areas'' '-- where people live and work '-- drawn from well over 100 popular third-party smartphone apps. Its customers, which include JLL, Regency, SRS, Brixmor, Verizon, and Caesars Entertainment, can filter by time or day of the week, and segment to pinpoint folks of a certain gender or income level. Alternatively, courtesy of AI and machine learning algorithms, they can benchmark their businesses' performance against that of competitors and conduct analyses to reveal emerging brands and trends by category and region.
Above: Canvassing trade areas in Placer.ai.
Image Credit: Placer.ai
Using Placer's API, developers can build dashboards with industry-specific visualizations or feed Placer's data into existing apps and services. Its location data set supports the creation of any number of reports, such as chain and store performance and visitor demographics, and it can be used to identify trends and build predictive models.
The platform's scope and granularity is admittedly disquieting '-- Placer says it can track the movements of over 60% and 40% of of Android and iOS users in the U.S., respectively '-- but the company claims it's committed to keeping personal information away from prying eyes. To this end, every app partner it works with must obtain consent to gather location data, and Placer says it never collects personally identifiable information or attempts to re-identify users.
Above: The portfolio view provided by Placer.ai.
Image Credit: Placer.ai
''Placer's rapid growth has been amazing to witness,'' said JBV Capital general partner Jeffrey Bazar. ''Noam and his team have done a remarkable job simplifying and standardizing how companies of all sizes support these business-critical use cases. As a result, they have built the new clear software leader in the industry, which represents an incredibly large market that can't adopt Placer's solution fast enough.''
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Police are about to deploy 'privacy destroying' facial recognition cameras across London | ZDNet
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:43
Facial recognition tech needs immediate regulation, says privacy watchdog UK's Information Commissioner's Office challenges the interpretation of a court ruling that gave the green light for using facial recognition on the public. Facial recognition cameras are set to be deployed across London for the first time, the Metropolitan Police has announced.
The roll out of the live facial recognition technology is expected to begin within a month and is designed to help the police tackle serious crime by locating and arresting wanted suspects '' but privacy groups have already criticised the decision.
The technology will be deployed in what's described as 'intelligence-led' specific locations around London and will be used to scan the faces of people passing through the area, with the aim of identifying wanted individuals.
"This is an important development for the Met and one which is vital in assisting us in bearing down on violence. As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London," said Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave.
SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
The Met Police say that the cameras will be focused on small, targeted areas and will be clearly signposted to members of the general public. The force also says that the technology will be separate to other imaging systems such as CCTV and cameras worn by police officers.
However, the decision to roll out facial recognition technology across London has not been welcomed by privacy and civil liberties groups.
"This is a dangerous, oppressive and completely unjustified move by the Met. Facial recognition technology gives the state unprecedented power to track and monitor any one of us, destroying our privacy and our free expression," said Clare Collier, advocacy director at human rights advocacy group Liberty.
"Rolling out a mass surveillance tool that has been rejected by democracies and embraced by oppressive regimes is a dangerous and sinister step. It pushes us towards a surveillance state in which our freedom to live our lives free from state interference no longer exists," she added.
"This decision represents an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK," said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, a privacy campaign group.
"This move instantly stains the new Government's human rights record and we urge an immediate reconsideration," she added.
SEE: How surveillance changes us
Prior to the technology being rolled out, the Met says it will engaging with communities at a local level.
"We all want to live and work in a city which is safe: the public rightly expect us to use widely available technology to stop criminals," said Ephgrave."Equally I have to be sure that we have the right safeguards and transparency in place to ensure that we protect people's privacy and human rights. I believe our careful and considered deployment of live facial recognition strikes that balance," he concluded.
The deployment in London follows trials of facial recognition across the UK, with one of the most recent by South Wales Police in Cardiff on the day of Cardiff City v Swansea City football derby.
Just last week, the European Union suggested it could ban facial recognition technology in public spaces.
MORE ON PRIVACYFacial recognition could be most invasive policing technology ever, warns watchdogFacial recognition: Convenient or creepy?UK watchdog to investigate King's Cross facial recognition tech used to spy on public
UK police stars using facial recognition tech to catch criminals, prompting mass surveillance fears - Business Insider
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:54
UK police will now use facial recognition technology to scan the faces of passersby on the street to see if they are criminals.London's Metropolitan Police said on Friday that it would deploy standalone facial recognition cameras through parts of the capital to tackle knife and gun violence, terrorism, and other major crimes.The force said the cameras would be signposted, and officers close by would hand out leaflets about the system. Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch vowed to fight the implementation of facial recognition and slammed it as "an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK."Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.The UK's largest police force will use facial recognition cameras to scan the faces of passersby to see if they are criminals, in a move that critics slammed as a massive expansion of surveillance.
In a statement on its website published Friday, London's Metropolitan Police said the system would involve using cameras to focus on "a small, targeted area to scan passers-by."
The force said cameras would be signposted, and offices involved in the operation would hand out leaflets about the activity.
The Metropolitan Police hasn't specified where in London the technology will go live, but said it would place cameras in areas where it could locate "serious offenders."
The goal is to tackle serious crime, including serious violence, gun and knife crime, child sexual exploitation. It's also intended to help with the protection of vulnerable people.
But the rollout of the technology, which is being supplied by Japanese technology firm NEC, is likely to prompt serious concerns about government surveillance and civil liberties.
Police constables Ben Sinclair and Karen Spencer pose for a photograph wearing their Metropolitan Police beat uniforms, in London, October 9, 2014. Paul Hackett/Reuters
When UK police previously trialled facial recognition tech, they fined people for covering their facesWhen the Metropolitan Police first trialled facial recognition technology in January 2019, a man was reported as having been controversially fined £90 ($117) after refusing to show his face.
However, a Met Police spokesman told Business Insider that the man was not fined for refusing to show his face, but was fined for "disorder" caused at the scene.
The spokesman also confirmed that people who refuse to show their faces in areas where the tech is in operation will not be fined for doing so.
Civil liberties campaign groups have reacted angrily to the Met's decision, however.
Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, told Business Insider: "This decision represents an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK."
She added that the Met police's earlier trial was "81% inaccurate", citing findings by an independent report.
She added: "This is a breath-taking assault on our rights and we will challenge it including by urgently considering next steps in our ongoing legal claim against the Met and the Home Secretary.
"This move instantly stains the new Government's human rights record and we urge an immediate reconsideration."
Speaking about the decision, the Met's assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave, said: "This is an important development for the Met and one which is vital in assisting us in bearing down on violence. As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London."
Amazon Employees Share Our Views on Company Business
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:42
363 Amazon employees gave one or more quotes below. For more context, click here.
''Amazon participates in the global economy, where it has a substantial impact on many issues. Expecting its employees to maintain silence on these issues, and Amazon's impact on them, is really a reprehensible overreach, and I am proud to take this opportunity to demonstrate my unwillingness to comply. I was heartened to hear about Amazon's commitment to invest in an electric delivery fleet and can't see the harm in saying so. I can't support a policy that would silence commentary, both pro and anti.''
'-- Michael Sokolov, Principal Engineer
''As an industry leader, Amazon is in a unique position to effect change in technology, transportation and other areas. I'm proud to work for a company that co-founded the Climate Pledge, indeed aggressive actions by industry leaders is one of our best hopes for mitigating the impacts of climate change in time to make a difference. I beseech our leadership to continue on this path, and to react with compassion to the myriad reactions to this existential crisis, including the strong emotions it evokes.''
'-- Bradley Music, Principal Product Manager
''The science on climate change is clear. It is unconscionable for Amazon to continue helping the oil and gas industry extract fossil fuels while trying to silence employees who speak out.''
'-- Amelia Graham-McCann, Senior Business Analyst
''Every day at Amazon I work with incredible people on great projects, but I am weighed down by the knowledge that Amazon partners with the oil and gas industry despite its Climate Pledge. We must be climate leaders, not delayers.''
'-- Justin Wang, SDE II
''The most customer-centric thing we can do is to be a force for social and climate justice. Amazon already knows we are nothing without our customers '-- let's do all we can to ensure there will still be people around to be our customers in 10, 20, 50, and 100 years.''
'-- Brian Colella, Copy Editor
''We live in a time of record breaking temperatures, scorching fires ravaging my home state of California, as well as the whole continent of Australia. The demolition of entire animal species, on such a mind-boggling scale, is what keeps me up at night. We cannot rely solely on consumers making the requisite changes '-- companies across the globe must lead the charge. I'm proud of my work at Amazon, and I know that we have the ability to affect great change. Let's commit to fixing our mess. Hell, if Microsoft can do it (go carbon negative), why can't we?''
'-- Austin Dworaczyk Wiltshire, Senior Software Development Engineer
''AWS Oil and Gas contracts jeopardize the objective of Amazon's own Climate Pledge, which requires companies to commit to reaching Paris Agreement goals 10 years early. The Paris Agreement established a global carbon budget that allows for burning less than one fifth of current oil and gas reserves. If AWS continues to help fossil fuel companies, like BP and Shell, discover and extract fossil fuel, it will guarantee we will NEVER meet the Paris Agreement, let alone ahead of schedule.''
'-- Justin Campbell, Data Engineer
''Amazon's main principle is Customer Obsession, it is time to broaden it and get obsessed with Humanity. Collaborating all together we can save our Planet. With great power comes great responsibility '-- Amazon should make drastic changes in the way it operates, shift company goals and values to be an example for other corporations. Amazon's order of 100,000 electric vans is the right move for our supply chain's future and is also a step in the right direction that sends a signal to the market to help the transition to clean technology. Well done! At the same time, Amazon should end its contracts with oil and gas companies. Our AI and ML are being used for 'finding oil,' 'producing oil,' and 'optimizing production' (source: AWS Oil & Gas public website).''
'-- Mila Rahman, DSP Payments Lead
''The only reason these workers have been singled out for violating communication policies is for speaking truth to power. It is vital for us as Amazon employees to not be intimidated by this action, and to continue pushing and speaking out against the problems in society that our company exacerbates. Contributing to climate change, supporting ICE, and brutal labor conditions in the warehouses are great for the bottom line but awful for society. And we cannot remain silent on these issues.''
'-- Jacob Hinton, Software Engineer
''Amazon has an opportunity to be a leader and use the skills and influence we have all worked to build to help create a livable climate both now and into the future. Climate policies should center the needs and dignity of all of the communities we work in and be based on pragmatic risk modeling and the best recommendations of scientists. I don't think this is controversial. It is wrong to use company policy to muzzle leaders who are proactively asking us to meet the necessary standard for our customers and planet.''
'-- Kevin Imrie, Lead Recruiter
''We have a responsibility to protect our climate and future generations, and this includes looking back critically on our contributions to the Climate Crisis. One of our leadership principles is to insist on the highest standards, and there is no reason why we should not apply this to how we treat our planet and our children.''
'-- Griffin Ham, Account Manager
''Amazon's shipment zero goal to deliver half of all packages net zero by 2030 is not consistent with the IPCC SR15 report which sets out the need for a 45% reduction in absolute emissions by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5C.''
'-- Martin Robertson, Senior Software Engineer
''Being a leader in technology has always been a staple of what makes Amazon a great company. Setting the precedent for appropriate action toward climate change can be one of the biggest early footprints for an entire world to change. If there was any company that could do it better than anyone, it is Amazon.''
'-- Nick Caskey, IT Support Tech
''Microsoft plans to be carbon negative (by 2030) sooner than we want to be carbon neutral (by 2040). How can Amazon claim to be ''thinking big''?''
'-- Duncan Scott, Software Engineer
''Amazon should internally look into policies that generates tons of garbage. The office is filled with disposable cheap plastic stuffs may it be cutlery, stationary or kitchen items. I believe we as a large organization have a moral responsibility and every employee plays a part in keeping our world and oceans clean.''
'-- Narasimha G, Manager, Quality Assurance
''I believe that we need to take immediate action to address climate change. Climate change threatens the livelihoods of not just the people we interact with daily, but many individuals across the world. We need to shift our mindsets and pivot towards creating a safe and sustainable future '-- future generations shouldn't have to carry the burden from the mistakes of today.''
'-- Samir Rahman, SDE
''If Amazon really wants to put the customer first, they'll obsess over saving the planet and reducing their carbon footprint, and take ownership as the global leader they are, putting pressure on other corporations to do likewise. We need to insist on the highest standards for this. Anything less is thinking small, a Day 2 mindset, poor earns trust, and willfully ignoring data.''
'-- William Schrag, SDE I
''Jeff Bezos said ''The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won't or can't embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you're probably fighting the future.'' So why is Amazon is actively fighting the future by prioritizing profits from accelerating oil and gas production over embracing the powerful trend that is human caused climate change?''
'-- David Mick, Program Manager
''Amazon has the scale to be a bold leader in the move toward clean energy, or a significant contributor to climate change. We know we'll have to deal with this eventually, so why wait?''
'-- Amanda Seyfer, Software Development Engineer
''Companies across the world follow standards set by Amazon. We have done a great job of blazing the trail on customer obsession and we now have a unique opportunity to lead the world and set a high standard on taking care of all our employees, and the environment that our customers, employees, and partners live in.''
'-- Dharmik Mehta, Sr. Program Manager
''I think it is dangerous for any company of any size to silence the words of the employees who are looking for the welfare of everyone.''
'-- Vivek Koppuru, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon's outsized impact on the world requires an outsized commitment to our community, and we're not living up to that responsibility. When we attempt to dismiss, discredit, or silence people who ask us to do better '-- workers who have been injured keeping up with fulfillment center quotas, independent researchers who have called out bias in our facial recognition software, open source developers who have expressed concerns about AWS's impact on the tech community, or engineers and designers who have spoken out to push Amazon to increase its commitment to addressing the climate crisis '-- we blow opportunities to earn trust with our customers and cut ourselves off from valuable, actionable feedback. In defending the indefensible to our employees '-- our contracts with Palantir, our marketing outreach to government agencies who let children die of preventable diseases in for-profit detention centers, our lobbying and PAC contributions to climate-denying, anti-LGBT, anti-refugee politicians whose agendas fundamentally contradict the values we claim to uphold as a company '-- we show that we're only interested in ''diverse perspectives'' when they don't threaten our bottom line. I love my job, and I want to be as proud to work at Amazon the company as I am to work with the dedicated, thoughtful, and creative people I interact with every day, but being ''Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company'' isn't all that special if ''customers'' is just a euphemism for shareholders. Let's be leaders instead of digging in our heels in the name of business as usual.''
'-- Cate Nestor, Senior Software Engineer
''If it's really Day One, then Amazon needs to step up and lead. Corporate social responsibility isn't a window-dressing silo '-- it's a way of doing business. No more collaborating with ICE or with oil and gas. No more abusing warehouse employees with inhumane quotas. Amazon is in a position to turn the tide, and the time is now. Let's make history.''
'-- Hilda Marshall, Data Linguist
''I am thankful Amazon is committed to net-zero emissions by 2040, but we simply do not have the time. For a company like Amazon, we need to be net-zero by 2030 at the latest. Amazon needs to be willing to follow its core principles and take ownership; by cutting ties with big oil we can show that we truly are committed to the future and not short term profits. You simply cannot be for the earth and still be turning a profit from fossil fuel.''
'-- Amanda King, Queue Management Analyst
''Amazon should work towards reduction of its packaging footprint across all services.''
'-- Juan Garc­a, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon should end punitive PTO, benefits, and wage policies tied to an employee level system designed to define lower and elite classes of workers and what accommodations, pay, and livelihoods a trillion dollar company believes they deserve. 750,000 workers deserve a democratic voice; power given to them not determined by some made-up ''level''.''
'-- Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth)
''Amazon can be great even while it is not harming the environment. The organization's attempts to be Eco friendly is what is making it better than it was. At this point it should not turn a blind eye to practices that are harming the environment. Flaws are not be covered, but to be acknowledged and improved upon.''
'-- Harveer Kaur, TS-II
''The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.''
'-- Max Eliaser, SDE II
''There is no better way to innovate on behalf of our customers than protecting our planet.''
'-- Pablo Ganga, Software Development Manager
''True long term thinking is considering what will happen fifty to one hundred years from now, not a year or two in the future. Amazon and AWS are failing at truly thinking long term by refusing to do the right thing and continuing to aid industry in destroying the planet for short term profits. AWS may not be able to, nor should they, police every line of code that's run on their hardware, but at the very least, they can stop pursuing and providing advantages to companies that profit from worsening climate change or violating human rights.''
'-- Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service
''Leadership needs to ''think bigger'' than next quarter's stock price and instead focus on the future of our planet. Just stop with the big oil stuff.''
'-- Lukas Hruska, Software Development Engineer
''Here's the thing: At Amazon, we talk incessantly about delighting customers and working backwards from the customer. This is a lovely idea, if taken holistically. But currently we assume every customer cares only about getting one-day delivery, regardless of the ripple effects. This is simply not reality. There is a large, money-spending demographic of customers world-wide in search of responsible companies who don't sacrifice people (and planets) for profits. In not being that company, despite huge profit margins, Amazon is not only not raising the bar, we are catering to the lowest common denominator. And there will be '-- already are '-- consequences, faced by the most vulnerable. While I understand that overall change happens slowly, Amazon is capable of moving fast. I appreciate the Climate Pledge and the promise of a more fuel-efficient fleet, but more needs to be done. A lot more. History is watching.''
'-- JR Maxwell, Program Specialist
''The international scientific community agrees that the climate crisis is an existential one for human civilization: it implicates us all, not only as tech employees, but as citizens and human beings. Amazon's order of 100,000 electric vans is the right move for our supply chain's future and is also a step in the right direction that sends a signal to the market to help the transition to clean technology. Well done! But more needs to be done. Amazon's climate initiatives should prioritize the well being of vulnerable communities who are disproportionately killed and harmed by the climate crisis: Indigenous people, communities of color, and those in the Global South. Amazon's supply chain should not be built at the expense of warehouse workers who work at a pace that causes higher-than-industry-average injury rates. It's not humane to have people scared to go to the bathroom. Amazon should end our contracts with oil and gas companies. Our AI and machine learning are being used for 'finding oil,' 'producing oil,' and 'optimizing production''' (source: AWS Oil & Gas public website). I disagree with AWS enabling Palantir and ICE to surveil and separate children from their parents at the border.''
'-- Rachel Babin, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Alexa Voice Services
''Amazon, the Earth is our only home. Spend more money on fighting Climate Change than on space exploration!''
'-- Virginie Muzereau, Data Linguist
''I believe Amazon's policy prohibiting employees from discussing known aspects of Amazon's business policies does not align with the company's internal values which encourage constructive criticism. The same process that helps employees and our products improve should apply to the company overall. As a customer of any business I will always have more faith in a company that permits and encourages public debate on how it can do things better.''
'-- I±aki Serraller Vizcaino, Software Development Engineer
''I'm encouraged by our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and confident that Amazon will exceed our 2040 carbon neutrality goal. Still, there are thousands of Amazonians who believe that we can and should do more. I'm disappointed that Amazon is responding by attempting to prohibit the discussion of public company information.''
'-- Kevin Albert, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon has a huge amount of power in the world today. This can be abused or treated with great responsibility. I want to be proud to work for Amazon, not ashamed. Amazon should be leading the fight in climate change and taking goals on it even more aggressively than for the otherwise biggest initiatives. That would make me proud to work at Amazon.''
'-- Craig Maas, Software Development Manager
''Since its inception, Amazon has been dedicated to raising the bar. Let's become leaders in fighting climate change.''
'-- Emma Ramos, Product Marketing Manager
''I am proud to work for a company as innovative and far-reaching as Amazon. I think we should be more innovative and reach further if we want to be a force for good, especially when it comes to the many threats of climate change, some of which we're already seeing, and the worst may be yet to come. I won't see the worst of it. You won't. Company leadership won't. But future generations will. It's for them that we must act.''
'-- Ben Hanowell, Data Scientist
''Amazon announced a pledge to increase climate transparency, yet is taking action to silence their own employees who wish to hold them accountable to their commitments and actions.''
'-- Brianna Harvey, Program Manager
''I'm a proud Amazonian, surrounded by great talent and game-changing technology. It's fun to see the impact we have as a global company, shaping entire industries as well as ways people live. As a nature-lover and human with a ''green'' heart, I applauded Jeff when he announced Amazon's Climate Pledge in September 2019, even though I felt we would be able to stretch the Pledge for an even higher impact. Now, the real pioneer moment went to Microsoft when they announced their plan to go carbon negative by 2030, capturing ALL carbon from the air they released EVER and putting it back into the ground where it belongs. I´m applauding this announcement even more and I hope Bill Gates scratched Jeff´s competition-nerve. I'd love to see Amazon to respond with something even bigger and more effective. I truly believe Amazon has the right talent on board to lead the way into a livable green future for other Tech Companies to follow, and for the sake of effectively combating Climate Change, I hope we will be great pioneers once more.''
'-- Annett Stapf, Escalation Program Manager
''I believe that Amazon can find the strength and courage to do what's right for our children.''
'-- Michael Muldoon, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon's Leadership Principles state: ''Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion.'' I support my fellow Amazonians who are fighting for their convictions. I too believe Amazon has the responsibility to do better for our workers, the environment, and refugees trapped in America's concentration camps.''
'-- Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer
''Censoring employees is no better than any Orwellian or Huxleyan future we've seen in the books. How can we truly encourage people to grow if we don't allow them to speak out? How can we truly be Customer Obsessive when we lie to them, or tell them we're silencing the people?''
'-- Mike Flowers, PQA
''We can all do better in terms of climate impact and Amazon is no exception. Change is only coming from awareness, so its most important to start talking about it.''
'-- Oliver Becher, Software development engineer
''Amazon's role in the climate crisis is staggering and alarming. While the company has publicly announced measures to reduce emissions and impacts in the coming years, it does not add up with its ongoing support to oil and gas industries and its efforts to silence employees who speak out. I stand with fellow employees who prioritize sustainability over profits.''
'-- Scott Ogle Queue, Management Analyst
''As an engineer at AWS and previously in retail I am disappointment with the lack of action on social issues and climate change. We seem to be doing the bare minimum, instead of boldly taking the lead and creating the necessary. I am especially disappointed with the way Amazon now utilizes communication policies as a silencing mechanism.''
'-- Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon's commitment to both renewable energy and selling technology to enhance oil production shows that Amazon isn't fully dedicated to solving climate change. It even goes against our own Leadership Principle's, ''Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.'' Myself and others are not seeing that commitment. As a major player in the global space Amazon can and needs to do better.''
'-- Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist
''Amazon's last-mile delivery network should be designed to deliver packages safely first, and in a timely manner second. Today's system incentivizes unsafe driving, and appears to be designed to insulate Amazon from liability, rather than to promote ownership and accountability.''
'-- Michael Berman, Sr. Software Dev Engineer
''Amazon should use its global influence to shift the world toward a brighter, more sustainable future. We can and should be leaders in research and implementation of sustainable living.''
'-- Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon hires smart people and encourages them all to act as owners and think long term and act on behalf of the entire company. Those employees standing out and pushing for change around climate change are doing exactly that.''
'-- Jo Hamilton, Watson Sr. User Research
''Amazon threatens its innovation Backbone and customer Trust by stifling employee speech with Day-2 type of overly broad reactionary policies. Amazon's decade long brand and reputation must evolve lest it slouch towards Walmart and Oracle stagnancy. These defensive retaliatory decisions only add to coworkers bound with Amazon for years that do not feel safe to speak up out of fear jeopardizing their visa status, and falling into demoralized ''that's-somebody-else's-problem'' attitudes of follower-vassals instead of leader-owners.''
'-- Alex Buell, SDE
''Amazon's recent initiatives on climate change are far from being sufficient. Amazon should not encourage unsustainable overconsumption the way it does. The products it sells are jeopardizing entire ecosystems and, eventually, our society as a whole.''
'-- Martin Habfast Mass, Account Management '-- Amazon Pay
''Amazon has a limited time to realize that once it loses customer trust, there will be no going back. Let us advocate for our customers by speaking up about climate change without prior written approval.''
'-- Kateryna Sitner, Sr UX Designer
''Solidarity to the workers facing retaliation for standing up!''
'-- Charlie LaBarge, Software engineer
''Nations around the world are finally declaring climate warming the emergency it has been for at least a decade. Amazon's climate initiatives are a step in the right direction, but Amazonians are customer-obsessed bar-raisers. We can't claim success, and we cannot rest on this issue, until we are certain our work is helping and not harming the most vulnerable, most impacted people on Earth. We have to do more, and we have to accept criticism wherever it comes from.''
'-- Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist
''Big Tech has the opportunity to not only change the world but change the planet. We have to do our part in protecting the customers we hold so dear.''
'-- Rabecca Rocha, Content Test Specialist
''I want Amazon to continue its vision to be Earth's most customer-centric company. By ending our contracts with oil and gas companies, we can show the world we put people over profits and be a leader against climate change.''
'-- Melissa Reeder, Senior UX Designer
''Amazon has made impressive commitments to improve the sustainability of its operations and mitigate its contribution to climate change. Shipment Zero, the Climate Pledge, and pivoting to electric delivery vehicles are all steps in the right direction. However, Amazon can and should do more. We should end our contracts with oil and gas companies that are using our services to locate, drill for, and extract fossil fuels that continue to exacerbate man made climate change.''
'-- Nolan Woodle, Associate Contracts Manager
''To deny people their human right is to challenge their very humanity.''
'-- Chaithra BH, Senior associate CPEX sustainability
''Amazon was on the right track to create the Climate Pledge. Amazon's decision to continue offering AI services to oil and gas is against its own Climate Pledge.''
'-- Yoshi Ludwig, Data Associate
''The Climate Pledge is a step in the right direction, but Amazon needs to invest in innovative carbon emissions reduction across all organizations '-- not just focus on net zero carbon '-- to become a true leader.''
'-- Sarah Tracy, Software Development Engineer
''The fossil fuel industry has mislead the public for years and continues to increase production of oil & gas, making the climate crisis even worse. Amazon cannot afford to be associated with such a dangerous industry '-- we should stop selling technology that boosts fossil fuel extraction.''
'-- Weston Fribley, Software Engineer
''Amazon should apply its leadership principles of Ownership, Invent and Simply, Think Big, and Bias for Action toward the rapid reduction in the carbon footprints of its own operations and of all companies with whom it does business.''
'-- Brian Keare, Software Development Engineer
''Amazon needs to think big about implementing solutions to reduce our emissions and address the inequities throughout the company. We must be relentless in our response to the global climate crisis!''
'-- John Beatty, Sr. Product Manager
''I think it is dangerous for any company of any size to silence the words of the employees who are looking for the welfare of everyone.''
'-- Vivek Koppuru, Software Development Engineer
''It is very disappointing to hear about threats being made to workers who have the boldness to speak up about how Amazon can improve on climate action, at a time of worldwide crisis.''
'-- Brian Ballantyne, Senior Program Manager
''As a huge and incredibly successful company, Amazon is in a position to make a massive impact on the market by shifting the focus to sustainable and energy-efficient business practices. The methods we employ to package and ship items, for example, could be vastly updated to be less wasteful and more energy efficient. Some steps have been taken, which I commend, but the conversation could be louder and Amazon's power could be a lot more effective if we completely divested from fossil fuel.''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I
''Amazon's sustainability efforts like renewable energy projects[1], electric vehicles[2][3], and recyclable packaging[4] are not only practical steps toward meeting climate goals, they're important symbols of leadership, and messages to the world about Amazon's position on the importance this issue. What message does it send that our AI and machine learning products are marketed directly to the oil and gas industry for finding and producing oil and gas[5]?
[1] '-- https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/sustainability/#progress
[2] '-- https://twitter.com/davehclark/status/1174697626685661186
[3] '-- https://twitter.com/JeffBezos/status/1219093283265138688
[4] '-- https://blog.aboutamazon.com/sustainability/the-big-ideas-and-tiny-details-behind-amazons-new-recyclable-mailer
[5] '-- https://aws.amazon.com/oil-and-gas/''
'-- Tim Schmelter, Senior Software Development Engineer
''I condemn over a million dollars from Amazon going to conservative candidates for the Seattle city council just weeks before the 2019 elections. Seattle residents have the exclusive right to vote for their council members, and to influence those elections with massive amounts of money is shameful.''
'-- Bob Danek, Systems Engineer
''Amazon: Do you want to continue to be known as 'the top in customer service and innovation at the expense of moral principles'? Leaders do what is right: respect your employees, protect our Earth, stand for human rights!''
'-- Guadalupe Miramontes, Program Manager, Alexa Speech
''Concerned citizens regarding climate change should be asking the companies they frequent as customers and the companies they work for to transition to clean technologies. I applaud the Climate Pledge commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early and challenge all companies, including Amazon, to be doing more to address this global crisis.''
'-- Sonja Weaver-Madsen, Manager, Amazon Advertising
''Amazon is a bold and innovative leader across the physical and digital economy. We have a clear moral responsibility to lead in transitioning to a carbon-free future and addressing the climate crisis. While Amazon's current climate initiatives are a first step, we can and must do more.''
'-- Alex Ford, Applied Scientist
''At one point in time, Amazon had a leadership principle that encouraged its employees to be ''Vocally Self Critical''. Amazon recognized that we don't grow and improve by pretending that our ''body odor smells of perfume'', but by listening to the dissenting opinions and constructive criticism around us. Those of us who object to Amazon's policies and actions regarding climate change, the oil industry, or surveillance do so because we care about Amazon, because we know that it has a great responsibility as a world leader in these areas, and that it has the vision to be a guiding force toward a better world. Rather than threatening us with termination, Amazon should listen to what we have to say, even when the only way for us to make our voices heard is by saying it in public.''
'-- Peter Davoust, Software Engineer
''I work on the The Climate Pledge and I am really excited for all the hard work the team is doing to get Amazon to carbon neutral. I work hard every day to make sure we can band together as a committed community to work on this important issue. I am proud to work at Amazon and to be working on such an important topic. I feel supported by our company and by our leadership to make this our top priority.''
'-- Kimberly Pousman, Engagement Manager, The Climate Pledge
''The climate crisis is a humanitarian emergency and not an isolated work issue. We need to openly talk about this. Amazon communication policies should never require employees to be silent on public issues of such moral gravity.''
'-- Emily Cunningham, User Experience Designer
''Corporations cannot own the conversation that threatens our very existence. We can't be silent about issues that harm our children, communities, and planet.''
'-- Maren Costa, Principal UX Designer
''I love working at Amazon. One of the things I like most is our leadership principle to ''Have backbone, disagree and commit.'' In this moment in our country's political and corporate history, I think it's more important than ever for employees to have freedom of speech to speak publicly about their employer's actions.''
'-- Mark Hiew, Senior Marketing Manager
''Amazon's order of 100 electric vehicles is a great start. But punishing employees for commenting on Amazon's publicly known business keeps us from encouraging our company to raise the bar on climate initiatives.''
'-- Vanessa Au, Program manager
''I want to be able to speak to the media about all the innovative things we ARE doing to protect Alexa customer privacy. I work every day to improve our protections of customer data, and it's disappointing when the media spins the truth because the people who speak up are the ones with nothing to lose.''
'-- Emily Greene, Software Engineer
''The only way the world or our company makes progress and innovates is by fostering a healthy communication of the good and the bad. If employees cannot be a part of this conversation inside and outside of the workplace we are reducing their ability to drive progress and harming our company and the world. We should have the same permissions commenting on public information and praising our electric vehicle purchase and sustainability team as we do in articulating our fears in our partnership with oil and gas, or ICE, or a genocide. Morality should be encouraged- not silenced and when we can be morally vocal we are the best people and employees which enables Amazon to be the best company. Therefore I have no qualms publicly stating I am proud of our sustainability team driving the purchase of 100k electric vehicles, but I want to see us show big tech and the world what a fossil free future looks like by breaking aws oil and gas contracts.''
'-- Rebecca Sheppard, Senior Product Manager Technical
''Amazon's climate initiatives should prioritize the well being of vulnerable communities who are disproportionately killed and harmed by the climate crisis: Indigenous people, communities of color, and those in the Global South.''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Parsisa Hosseinzadeh, Consultant; Brad Donahue, Format Leader; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Trista Do, Custom Pricing Analyst; Sandra Hube, Sr. Marketing Manager; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Athanasios Kinalis, Sr. SDE; Sam Dickson, Software Engineer; Ashley Small, PA; Stephanie Potratz, Program Manager; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Kannan Nambiar Mavila, Software Development Engineer; Owen Royall-Kahin, Software Development Engineer; Igor Mendon§a, IT Support Associate II; Kristin Anthony, Learning Experience Designer; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Lokesh Taneja , BIE; Jessica Claus, Account Executive; Alex Waz, Software Engineer; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Jen Hsieh, Sr. PM; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; David Ellison, Software Development Engineer II; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Mikey Tom, Startup Marketing Manager; Katie Bann, Compliance Training Specialist; Jennifer Drossart, ASM; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Hamid Ali, Software Dev Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Rabecca Rocha, Content Test Specialist; Marie Kilg, Program Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Diego Calderara, Student worker at Audible Italy; Corey Salzer, AWS Solution's' Architect; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Kenneth Calder"n Suazo, SPS Associate, Vendor Support; Mel Balasinski, Financial Analyst; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Jackson Sharma, QAM; Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Devon Anderson, Sourcing Recruiter; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Catherine Graham, ISAM; Igli Dhima, Support Engineer; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Ken Sharma, AWS FC Tours Program Manager; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Emily Eberle-Levine, Sr. Product Manager, Technical; Ruben Garcia, Account Executive; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Joshua Brightwell, TPM; Bobby Martin, Software Development Engineer in Test; Simone Rondelli, Software Development Engineer; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Virginie Muzereau, Data Linguist; Jordan Browning, Software Development Engineer; Emma Ramos, Product Marketing Manager; Nadine Levin, Tech Ops Manager; Ang Huang, Product Marketing Manager; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Kassidy Zwaagstra, Marketing Manager; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Kamlesh Nanda, Sr. Manager; Candace Spencer, Process Assistant; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Matt Smith, Program Manager, Process Improvement; Dani Cifelli, AMZL ACES SME; Thena Seer, Software Development Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Apostolos Dimitromanolakis, Software Development Engineer II; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Pranav Varia, Engineering Manager; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; John Luo, Software Engineer; Ben Hanowell, Data Scientist; Ali Haq, Software Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Michael Shaver, SDE; Lea Caen, PM; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Lorena Mendoza-Flores, Account Representative; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Rita Cheng, SDE; Pamela Hayter, PM; Michele Trickey, Sr. Product Manager; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Elaine Kuo, Program Manager; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Hana Thier, Sr. Software Engineer; Sheila Porter, Software Development Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Michael Kale, Sr Software Development Engineer; Laura Salish, Administrative Assistant; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Harold Schaut, ASK ID - Data Specialist II; Erika Green, Executive Assistant; Katie Dunwell, Digital Marketing Manager; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Ann Brady, Sr. DevOps Consultant; Michael Katica, Associate Consultant; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Michael Berman, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; Valentin Wattel, Instock Manager; John Ellis, Software Development Engineer; Leonardo Passini, Brand Specialist; Sasha Verma, Software Development Engineer; Okan Koc, Applied Scientist; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Corey McClain, Sr. Technical Account Manager; Aliz Sramko, Sales Coordinator; Carbonara Giuseppe Matteo, Fraud Investigation Specialist; Eliav Kahan, Sr. Product Manager, Technical; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Mairieth Valenciano, Content Developer; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Sarah Grabarczyk, Investigation Specialist; Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Michael Chatzopoulos, Securtiy Transfrom Consultant; Alex Buell, SDE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Nick Andrews, Program Manager; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Irina Tolstova, Product designer; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Nari Benson, Senior Marketing Manager; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Luke Sun, Software Development Engineer; Patrick Michaelsen, Software Development Engineer; Jacob McCarthy, Software development engineer; David Adam Edelstein, UX Manager; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Franziska Seeger, Research Scientist; Greg Pryzby Sr. Solutions Architect
''Amazon's order of 100,000 electric vans is the right move for our supply chain's future and is also a step in the right direction that sends a signal to the market to help the transition to clean technology. Well done!''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Brad Donahue, Format Leader; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Chris Allison, Sr. UX Researcher; Trista Do, Custom Pricing Analyst; Philip Geijer, AM; Ramon Pallaske, Program Manager; Dan Haugseng, Sr Software Engineer; Athanasios Kinalis, Sr. SDE; Nick Caskey, IT Support Tech; Claudia Martin Leon, AWS CES EMEA; Lydon Carter, Cloud Support Engineer; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Carter Crouch, BIE; Ramon Lopez, SDM; Kannan Nambiar Mavila, Software Development Engineer; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Dharmik Mehta, Sr. Program Manager; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Roshni Naidu, Senior Technical Product Manager; Kenny He, SDE; Shanay Jhaveri, Software Development Engineer; William Cline, Senior Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Alicia Jaffee, Sr Technical Program Manager; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Jose Angel Rodriguez Rodrigo, Systems Development Engineer; Petr Sedlacek, System Development Engineer I; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Adrian Hernando, Software Development Engineer; Alexandra Dorohoi, Catalogue associate; Corey Salzer, AWS Solution's Architect; Mel Balasinski, Financial Analyst; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Devon Anderson, Sourcing Recruiter; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Sai Badey, SDE; Igli Dhima, Support Engineer; Daniel Torok, Software Development Engineer; Fangyi Zhu, Software Engineer; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Jason McCue, Principal Product Manager; Simone Rondelli, Software Development Engineer; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Dana Zhu, Senior Program Manager; Emma Ramos, Product Marketing Manager; Ang Huang, Product Marketing Manager; Patrick Thien, SDE; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Navreen Grewal, UX Designer II; Robert Laks, Software Development Engineer 2; Sean Maloney, Software Development Manager; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Matt Smith, Program Manager, Process Improvement; Stephanie Stone, Principal Product Manager '-- Tech; Dani Cifelli, AMZL ACES SME; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Zachary Segall, Software Development Engineer; Naomi Simpson, Account Manager; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; John Luo, Software Engineer; Ben Hanowell, Data Scientist; Bradley Music, Principal Product Manager; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Ouadie Boussaid, SDE; Michael Shaver, SDE; Lauren Appelbaum, Technical Writer; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Laura Lawrence-Mobbs, L&D; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Eric Webster, Software Development Engineer; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Adrian Janssen, SDE II; Pamela Hayter, PM; Ashley Baker, Business Analyst; Fanny Hoang, Procurement; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Griffin Ham, Account Manager; Elaine Kuo, Program Manager; Joel Flank, Sr Business Intelligence Engineer; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Adam Barker, Software Development Engineer; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Oliver Becher, Software Development Engineer; Kaushik Shankar, Senior Software Development Engineer; Christina Wiley, Design Quality Manager; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Ann Brady, Sr. DevOps Consultant; Michael Katica, Associate Consultant; Ryan Ladd, Head of S3 Expansion; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Juan Olivares, SDE; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; Swapna Palaniswamy Otte, Product Manager; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Elia Ruberti, Business Intelligence Engineer; Can Uysal, Resolution Specialist [A]; Eliav Kahan, Sr. Product Manager '-- Technical; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Luca Lovagnini, SDE; Hanna Herbst, Vendor Manager; Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer; Maxime Hellings, Product Manager; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Jo Hamilton Watson, Sr. User Research; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Michelle Li, Marketing Manager; Alex Buell, SDE; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Irina Tolstova, Product designer; Amelia Graham-McCann, Senior Business Analyst; Erika Wright, Manager, Digital Advertising; Justin Wang, SDE II; Danilo Quilaton, Senior Product Designer; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Victor Chen, SDE; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Patrick Michaelsen, Software Development Engineer; Bobby Gordon, Finance Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Desiree Kabel, Retail Store Associate II; Greg Pryzby, Sr. Solutions Architect; Jose Alvarez, Business Development Manager; Patryk Mastela, Software Development Engineer; Edwin Howard, Hardware Engineer; David Gregory, Research Scientist; Andrew Buchanan, Software Development Engineer; Orion Stanger, SDE II
''Amazon should end our contracts with oil and gas companies. Our AI and machine learning are being used for 'finding oil,' 'producing oil,' and 'optimizing production'.'' (source: AWS Oil & Gas public website)
'-- Haley Mateen, Event Planner; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Brad Donahue, Format Leader; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Chris Allison, Sr. UX Researcher; Trista Do, Custom Pricing Analyst; Sandra Hube, Sr. Marketing Manager; Ramon Pallaske, Program Manager; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Andrew Zunt, Software Development Engineer; Kavita Sthanumurthy, Software Development engineer; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Isaac Reilly, Software Development Engineer; Claudia Martin, Leon AWS CES EMEA; Carter Crouch, BIE; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Jess Otaguro, Business Intelligence Engineer; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Shanay Jhaveri, Software Development Engineer; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; David Ellison, Software Development Engineer II; William Cline, Senior Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Eric Shields, Web Development Engineer; Jennifer Drossart, ASM; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Petr Sedlacek, System Development Engineer I; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Amanda King, Queue Management Analyst; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Adrian Hernando, Software Development Engineer; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Jackson Sharma, QAM; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Sai Badey, SDE; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Daniel Torok, Software Development Engineer; Ken Sharma, AWS FC Tours Program Manager; Fangyi Zhu, Software Engineer; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Ruben Garcia, Account Executive; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Ming Luo, Software Development Engineer II; Bobby Martin, Software Development Engineer in Test; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Virginie Muzereau, Data Linguist; Francois Gergaud, Software Development Engineer; Simon Maspero, SDE II; MacKenna Strange, Product Marketing Manager; Patrick Thien, SDE; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Navreen Grewal, UX Designer II; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Robert Laks, Software Development Engineer 2; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Dani Cifelli, AMZL ACES SME; Thena Seer, Software Development Engineer; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Antoine Lafouasse, Software Development Engineer; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Emma Kilfoyle, Software Development Engineer; Zachary Segall, Software Development Engineer; Eric Regina, Robotics Software Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Bradley Music, Principal Product Manager; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Michael Shaver, SDE; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Eric Webster, Software Development Engineer; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Pamela Hayter, PM; Danilo Pavkov, Software Developer Engineer; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Joel Flank, Sr Business Intelligence Engineer; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA Henry Fox Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Michael Kale, Sr Software Development Engineer; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Scott Ogle, Queue Management Analyst; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Katie Dunwell, Digital Marketing Manager; Marta Callava, Sr Technical Writer; Camila de la Parra, Data Linguist; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; Hector Lorenzo Pons, Senior Front-end Engineer; Lucas Pedroza, SDE; Spencer Gagnon, Software Engineer; Okan Koc, Applied Scientist; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Leah Nicolich-Henkin, Machine Learning Scientist; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Thea Pedroza, Software Development Engineer; Aliz Sramko, Sales Coordinator; Louise Fairclough, Team Manager; Emily Gary, Business Analyst; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Keylor Suarez, VCDM Execution Specialist; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Hanna Herbst, Vendor Manager; Luke Neville, Software Development Engineer; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Juliette Courlet, Software development engineer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Cary Small, Software Development Engineer; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Martin Habfast, Mass Account Management '-- Amazon Pay; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Melissa Reeder, Senior UX Designer; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Justin Wang, SDE II; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Victor Chen, SDE; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Patrick Michaelsen, Software Development Engineer; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Davide Tommasi, WHS Manager; Greg Pryzby, Sr. Solutions Architect; Elisabeth Grigoryeva, Receptionist; Patryk Mastela, Software Development Engineer; David Gregory, Research Scientist
''Amazon's supply chain should not be built at the expense of warehouse workers who work at a pace that causes higher-than-industry-average injury rates. It's not humane to have people scared to go to the bathroom.''
'-- Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman, ML Data Linguist-I; Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Parsisa Hosseinzadeh, Consultant; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Dan Haugseng, Sr Software Engineer; Athanasios Kinalis, Sr. SDE; Sam Dickson, Software Engineer; Stephanie Potratz, Program Manager; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Anne-Sophie Luisada, Brand Specialist; Owen Royall-Kahin, Software Development Engineer; Igor Mendon§a, IT Support Associate II; Claudia Martin Leon, AWS CES EMEA; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Brandy Russum, UX Designer; Ramon Lopez, SDM; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Byron Kam, Senior Product Manager; Dharmik Mehta, Sr. Program Manager; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Catherine Buck, Sr Technical Writer; Kyle Zagar, Salesforce Project Manager; Kenny He, SDE; Jen Hsieh, Sr. PM; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Mikey Tom, Startup Marketing Manager; Jennifer Drossart, ASM; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Jose Angel Rodriguez Rodrigo, Systems Development Engineer; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Alexandra Dorohoi, Catalogue associate; Corey Salzer, AWS Solution's Architect; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Kenneth Calder"n Suazo, SPS Associate, Vendor Support; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Hamid Ali, Software Dev Engineer; Max Eliaser, SDE II; Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Brian Tanabe, Software Dev Manager; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Igli Dhima, Support Engineer; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Ken Sharma, AWS FC Tours Program Manager; Fangyi Zhu, Software Engineer; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Ruben Garcia, Account Executive; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Ming Luo, Software Development Engineer II; Bobby Martin, Software Development Engineer in Test; Caitlin Thompson, Customer Service Representative; Simone Rondelli, Software Development Engineer; Kannan Nambiar Mavila, Software Development Engineer; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Kamlesh Nanda, Sr. Manager; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Matt Smith, Program Manager, Process Improvement; Matt Martin, Software Developer Engineer; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Antoine Lafouasse, Software Development Engineer; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Ouadie Boussaid, SDE; Michael Shaver, SDE; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Sean Stahl, Sr. Game Designer; Jason Unger, Business Analyst; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Lorena Mendoza-Flores, Account Representative; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Jen Baker, Procurement Analyst; Pamela Hayter, PM; Fanny Hoang, Procurement; Steffen Wilhelm, Producer Original Content; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Tommy Markley, Software Development Engineer; Sheila Porter, Software Development Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA; Julia Gimpel, Program Manager, AMDS NEXT ES; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Laura Salish, Administrative Assistant; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Ann Brady, Sr. DevOps Consultant; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Michael Berman, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Juan Olivares, SDE; John Ellis, Software Development Engineer; Eszter Herendi, Marketing Project Manager; Sasha Verma, Software Development Engineer; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Corey McClain, Sr. Technical Account Manager; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Sarah Grabarczyk, Investigation Specialist; Jon Faust, Transportation Specialist; Nathalie Hasson, New Account Manager; Rachel Perry, Senior Financial Analyst; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Alex Buell, SDE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Oliver Hoidn, Applied Scientist; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Danilo Quilaton, Senior Product Designer; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Bobby Gordon, Finance Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Andrew Buchanan, Software Development Engineer
''I disagree with AWS enabling Palantir and ICE to surveil and separate children from their parents at the border.''
'-- Tommy Hinman, Sr. SDE; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer; Hillary Clayton, CSA; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Jose Galaviz, SDE; Ramon Pallaske, Program Manager; Jason Lunn, Software Delivery Manager; Minh Nguyen, QAE; Mani Movva, Jr. SDE; Kavita Sthanumurthy, Software Development engineer; Stephanie Potratz, Program Manager; Ben Lindsey, Technical Account Manager, Books; Zachariah Kahn, Sr. Packaging Designer; Hamid Ali, Software Dev Engineer; Igor Mendon§a, IT Support Associate II; Claudia Martin Leon, AWS CES EMEA; Houssam Nassif, Senior applied scientist; Ramon Lopez, SDM; Manali Palwankar, System Support Engineer; Benjamin Miller, Recruiting Coordinator; Rueben Marquez, System Support Engineer; Jen Hsieh, Sr. PM; Bethany Berkowitz, Software Engineer; Sarah Piper-Goldberg, Senior UX Designer; Mikey Tom, Startup Marketing Manager; Godwin, Web Development Engineer; Katie Bann, Compliance Training Specialist; Iain Logan, Software Development Engineer; Francesco Berni, System Development Engineer II; Sebastian Mikuska, New Key Accounts Manager; Faiz Kazi, Software Development Engineer; Adrian Hernando, Software Development Engineer; Piper Horscroft, Software Development Engineer; Kenneth Calder"n Suazo, SPS Associate, Vendor Support; Jade Fine, Central Operations; Ben Karpelman, Technical Customer Service Specialist (UnAuth); Max Eliaser, SDE II; Christine Lawton, UX Designer; Hasan Manzour, Research Scientist; Garrett Griffin, Software Development Engineer II; Devon Anderson, Sourcing Recruiter; Alan Fluder, Writer; Alex Webster, Software Development Engineer; Sai Badey, SDE; Benjamin Jones, Sr. Software Development Engineer; Eric Lobdell, AWS Customer Service; Stephen Watson, Software Engineer; Fiona Nelis, Catering Coordinator; Cem Kadioglu, SDE I; Bobby Martin Software Development Engineer in Test; Kyri Vanderpoel, Systems Development Engineer; Mike Shandrow, System Development Engineer; Francois Gergaud, Software Development Engineer; Simon Maspero, SDE II; MacKenna Strange, Product Marketing Manager; Alexander Chao, Software Development Engineer; Camille Nibungco, Software Development Engineer; Derek Petersen, SDE; Jarrett Bato, Sr. UX Designer; Navreen Grewal, UX Designer II; Steven Wilkins, Sr SDET; Yann Oehl, Sr. UX Designer; Navid Oskouipour, Software Development Manager; Sean Maloney, Software Development Manager; Eliza Schreibman, Software Development Engineer; Isaac Benioff, SDE I; Thena Seer, Software Development Engineer; Chris Hayes, Sr. Software Dev Engineer; Caasi Adejo, Process Guide; Antoine Lafouasse, Software Development Engineer; Alissa Likavec, Web Development Engineer; Rabecca Rocha, Content Test Specialist; Laust Deleuran, Web Development Engineer; Gustavo Alkmim, Software Developer Engineer; Eric Regina, Robotics Software Engineer; Grush Khalsa, Data Scientist; Isaac Haseley, Software Engineer; Michael Shaver, SDE; Lauren Appelbaum, Technical Writer; Allie Novoa, Recruiting Coordinator; Michael Burns, Learning Experience Designer; Eric Webster, Software Development Engineer; Abbie DiLullo, Account Executive; Whitney-Rose Levis, Device Associate; Pamela Hayter, PM; Danilo Pavkov, Software Developer Engineer; Brian Laframboise, Senior Software Development Engineer; Joel Flank, Sr Business Intelligence Engineer; Mike Flowers, PQA; Adam Barker, Software Development Engineer; Julia Gimpel, Program Manager, AMDS NEXT ES; Henry Fox, Retail Associate; Denes Marton, Marketing Manager; Michael Kale, Sr Software Development Engineer; Laura Salish, Administrative Assistant; Jarvie Peyser, Account Executive; Marek Ventur, Software Development Engineer; Erika Green, Executive Assistant; Christina Wiley, Design Quality Manager; Camila de la Parra, Data Linguist; Mahtab Sabet, Software Development Engineer; Matthew Kahler, Learning Technologist; Mike Rapin, Front-End Engineer; Brian Rogers, Senior Design Technologist; Alethea Mundy-Haywood, Principal Product Manager; John Ellis, Software Development Engineer; Eszter Herendi, Marketing Project Manager; Spencer Gagnon, Software Engineer; Gustavo Frigo, BIE; Sasha Verma, Software Development Engineer; Iordache Daniel, Sr Catalog Associate; Rahul Aalugadda, BI Support Manager; Corey McClain, Sr. Technical Account Manager; Alaina Dyrness, Editor; Rodney Gingerich, VLT Supply Chain Associate; Sarah Grabarczyk, Investigation Specialist; Jon Faust, Transportation Specialist; Ben Nimmons, UX Designer; Rebecca Price, Senior Program Manager; Alejandra Castro, CSCA Sr Assoc Audible; Nicolas Smith, QAE; Michael Chatzopoulos, Securtiy Transfrom Consultant; Alex Buell, SDE; Yoshi Ludwig, Senior Data Associate; Tegan Mulholland, Software Development Engineer; Charlie LaBarge, Software engineer; Marcus Collins, Senior Applied Scientist; Zachary Diaz, Digital Content Acquisitions Management; Justin Wang, SDE II; Danilo Quilaton, Senior Product Designer; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Cody Rank, Software Development Engineer II; Amy Mrquez, UX Design Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Bob Danek, Systems Engineer; Justin Roll, Software Development Engineer; Jacob McCarthy, Software development engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Greg Pryzby, Sr. Solutions Architect; Jose Alvarez, Business Development Manager; Andrew Buchanan Software Development Engineer
''Amazon and the world are not on track to meet targets that will keep us within safe limits of warming. I agree with the workers being threatened with termination that Amazon must do more about its climate impact.''
'-- Matthew McKay, Software Engineer; Jordan Handler, Sr. Program Manager; Evan Pulgino, Software Development Engineer II; Francesca Romano, Ops Excellence Expert; Stephen McMurtry, Software Development Engineerr; Shamir Tanna, Senior Product Manager; Sen Connolly, Systems Engineer; Sherry Li, Program Manager II; Victoria Liang, Software Development Engineer; Shamel Johnson, Supply Chain Manager; Karthik Ramanathan, Software Development Engineer
Philadelphia judge rules against Uber's arbitration clause in car crash case
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:25
When you download Uber's app, you agree that you're older than 18, that you're not using a stolen credit card to pay your driver, and '-- if you're like one Philadelphia woman and fracture your spine in a Center City car crash '-- that you won't seek a jury trial against the ride-share giant.
But, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has ruled that, because Uber can't prove that Jillian Kemenosh actually read the company's terms and conditions before she signed up or rode in the car that ran a red light, she can't be forced to settle her claims behind closed doors.
Sitting in the back seat of an Uber in March 2018, Kemenosh was more than halfway home on a four-mile trip from Columbus Boulevard to her Center City apartment when the driver of the 2010 Toyota Highlander ran a red light at 16th and Vine Streets, crashing into another vehicle.
Suffering a fracture to her spine, concussion, and traumatic brain injury, Kemenosh sued Uber, its local subsidiaries, and the driver, requesting a jury to determine her payout.
But, Uber argues in court documents, by approving the ride-share's ''terms and conditions'' when she downloaded the app in 2013, Kemenosh had already forfeited her right to a jury, agreeing instead to resolve any legal disputes only through binding arbitration, which forces users to waive their rights to sue and settle matters privately.
Proponents of arbitration say that it's faster and cheaper than court. But critics say it revokes a consumer's right to publicly take action against a company.
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''Our entire judicial system is founded on a trial by jury,'' said Kemenosh's lawyer, Joseph L. Messa Jr.
In a 19-page opinion this month, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Abbe F. Fletman sided with Kemenosh, determining that because the app makes it possible to register for Uber's services without clicking on a hyperlink to review the company's terms of service, ''the registration process did not properly communicate an offer to arbitrate under Pennsylvania law.''
Uber and a lawyer for the company did not return requests for comment. Uber has until Feb. 3 to appeal Fletman's ruling.
Had Kemenosh been required to click a link, check a box confirming she read and agreed to Uber's terms and conditions, or received email notice of the company's policies, Uber's arbitration-only rule would perhaps be valid, the judge wrote.
''In this matter, however, Uber took none of these steps,'' Fletman's opinion said.
This isn't the first time a question over Uber's arbitration clause has appeared before a court.
Also that year, a federal appeals court refused to endorse Uber's arbitration argument in a lawsuit brought by Boston-area riders who accused the company of overcharging for rides to the airport. The panel determined that Uber's policy section ''failed to grab the user's attention.''
But in 2017, a federal judge bemoaned but backed the company's contract, sending a Connecticut man's suit over illegal price surging into arbitration, writing: ''This being the law, this judge must enforce it '' even if it is based on nothing but factual and legal fictions."
When it comes to requiring customers to approve a ''terms and conditions'' contract with an arbitration clause, Uber is ''not unusual,'' said Charles B. Casper, a Philadelphia-based consumer and class-action defense lawyer who is not involved in the Uber case. The clause is typical of many cell phone, cable television, and rental car contracts, Casper said.
But whether Uber gives customers notice that they're forfeiting their right to a jury is a fair question, Casper said.
Customers agreeing to a company's terms and conditions can generally find an arbitration clause in a contract written ''conspicuously'' in bold-face type or all-capital letters.
For Messa, the question is one of transparency.
''You have e-commerce companies here that want to financially benefit from customers but limit their rights from liability,'' Messa said. ''The constitutional rights of citizens here shouldn't be taken lightly.''
*Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Charles B. Casper is an attorney based in Montgomery County. He is an attorney with the Montgomery McCracken firm, based in Philadelphia. The post has been updated.
Leaked Documents Expose the Secretive Market for Your Web Browsing Data - VICE
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:18
An antivirus program used by hundreds of millions of people around the world is selling highly sensitive web browsing data to many of the world's biggest companies, a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag has found. Our report relies on leaked user data, contracts, and other company documents that show the sale of this data is both highly sensitive and is in many cases supposed to remain confidential between the company selling the data and the clients purchasing it.
The documents, from a subsidiary of the antivirus giant Avast called Jumpshot, shine new light on the secretive sale and supply chain of peoples' internet browsing histories. They show that the Avast antivirus program installed on a person's computer collects data, and that Jumpshot repackages it into various different products that are then sold to many of the largest companies in the world. Some past, present, and potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Home Depot, Cond(C) Nast, Intuit, and many others. Some clients paid millions of dollars for products that include a so-called "All Clicks Feed," which can track user behavior, clicks, and movement across websites in highly precise detail.
Avast claims to have more than 435 million active users per month, and Jumpshot says it has data from 100 million devices. Avast collects data from users that opt-in and then provides that to Jumpshot, but multiple Avast users told Motherboard they were not aware Avast sold browsing data, raising questions about how informed that consent is.
The data obtained by Motherboard and PCMag includes Google searches, lookups of locations and GPS coordinates on Google Maps, people visiting companies' LinkedIn pages, particular YouTube videos, and people visiting porn websites. It is possible to determine from the collected data what date and time the anonymized user visited YouPorn and PornHub, and in some cases what search term they entered into the porn site and which specific video they watched.
Do you know about any other companies selling data? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on jfcox@jabber.ccc.de, or email joseph.cox@vice.com.
Although the data does not include personal information such as users' names, it still contains a wealth of specific browsing data, and experts say it could be possible to deanonymize certain users.
In a press release from July, Jumpshot claims to be "the only company that unlocks walled garden data" and seeks to "provide marketers with deeper visibility into the entire online customer journey." Jumpshot has previously discussed some of its clients publicly. But other companies mentioned in Jumpshot documents include Expedia, IBM, Intuit, which makes TurboTax, Loreal, and Home Depot. Employees are instructed not to talk publicly about Jumpshot's relationships with these companies.
"It's very granular, and it's great data for these companies, because it's down to the device level with a timestamp," the source said, referring to the specificity and sensitivity of the data being sold. Motherboard granted the source anonymity to speak more candidly about Jumpshot's processes.
Until recently, Avast was collecting the browsing data of its customers who had installed the company's browser plugin, which is designed to warn users of suspicious websites. Security researcher and AdBlock Plus creator Wladimir Palant published a blog post in October showing that Avast harvest user data with that plugin. Shortly after, browser makers Mozilla, Opera, and Google removed Avast's and subsidiary AVG's extensions from their respective browser extension stores. Avast had previously explained this data collection and sharing in a blog and forum post in 2015. Avast has since stopped sending browsing data collected by these extensions to Jumpshot, Avast said in a statement to Motherboard and PCMag.
An infographic showing the supply chain of browsing data from Avast through to Jumpshot's clients. Image: Motherboard
However, the data collection is ongoing, the source and documents indicate. Instead of harvesting information through software attached to the browser, Avast is doing it through the anti-virus software itself. Last week, months after it was spotted using its browser extensions to send data to Jumpshot, Avast began asking its existing free antivirus consumers to opt-in to data collection, according to an internal document.
"If they opt-in, that device becomes part of the Jumpshot Panel and all browser-based internet activity will be reported to Jumpshot," an internal product handbook reads. "What URLs did these devices visit, in what order and when?" it adds, summarising what questions the product may be able to answer.
Senator Ron Wyden, who in December asked Avast why it was selling users' browsing data, said in a statement, "It is encouraging that Avast has ended some of its most troubling practices after engaging constructively with my office. However I'm concerned that Avast has not yet committed to deleting user data that was collected and shared without the opt-in consent of its users, or to end the sale of sensitive internet browsing data. The only responsible course of action is to be fully transparent with customers going forward, and to purge data that was collected under suspect conditions in the past."
Despite Avast currently asking users to opt back into the data collection via a pop-up in the antivirus software, multiple Avast users said they did not know that Avast was selling browsing data.
"I was not aware of this," Keith, a user of the free Avast antivirus product who only provided their first name, told Motherboard. "That sounds scary. I usually say no to data tracking," they said, adding that they haven't yet seen the new opt-in pop-up from Avast.
"Did not know that they did that :(," another free Avast antivirus user said in a Twitter direct message.
Motherboard and PCMag contacted over two dozen companies mentioned in internal documents. Only a handful responded to questions asking what they do with data based on the browsing history of Avast users.
"We sometimes use information from third-party providers to help improve our business, products and services. We require these providers to have the appropriate rights to share this information with us. In this case, we receive anonymized audience data, which cannot be used to identify individual customers," a Home Depot spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement.
Microsoft declined to comment on the specifics of why it purchased products from Jumpshot, but said that it doesn't have a current relationship with the company. A Yelp spokesperson wrote in an email, "In 2018, as part of a request for information by antitrust authorities, Yelp's policy team was asked to estimate the impact of Google's anticompetitive behavior on the local search marketplace. Jumpshot was engaged on a one-time basis to generate a report of anonymized, high-level trend data which validated other estimates of Google's siphoning of traffic from the web. No PII was requested or accessed."
"Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site."
Southwest Airlines said it had discussions with Jumpshot but didn't reach an agreement with the company. IBM said it did not have a record of being a client, and Altria said it is not working with Jumpshot, although didn't specify if it did so previously. Sephora said it has not worked with Jumpshot. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
On its website and in press releases, Jumpshot names Pepsi, and consulting giants Bain & Company and McKinsey as clients.
As well as Expedia, Intuit, and Loreal, other companies which are not already mentioned in public Jumpshot announcements include coffee company Keurig, YouTube promotion service vidIQ, and consumer insights firm Hitwise. None of those companies responded to a request for comment.
On its website, Jumpshot lists some previous case studies for using its browsing data. Magazine and digital media giant Cond(C) Nast, for example, used Jumpshot's products to see whether the media company's advertisements resulted in more purchases on Amazon and elsewhere. Cond(C) Nast did not respond to a request for comment.
ALL THE CLICKS
Jumpshot sells a variety of different products based on data collected by Avast's antivirus software installed on users' computers. Clients in the institutional finance sector often buy a feed of the top 10,000 domains that Avast users are visiting to try and spot trends, the product handbook reads.
Another Jumpshot product is the company's so-called "All Click Feed." It allows a client to buy information on all of the clicks Jumpshot has seen on a particular domain, like Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, BestBuy.com, or Ebay.com.
In a tweet sent last month intended to entice new clients, Jumpshot noted that it collects "Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site" [emphasis Jumpshot's.]
Jumpshot's data could show how someone with Avast antivirus installed on their computer searched for a product on Google, clicked on a link that went to Amazon, and then maybe added an item to their cart on a different website, before finally buying a product, the source who provided the documents explained.
One company that purchased the All Clicks Feed is New York-based marketing firm Omnicom Media Group, according to a copy of its contract with Jumpshot. Omnicom paid Jumpshot $2,075,000 for access to data in 2019, the contract shows. It also included another product called "Insight Feed" for 20 different domains. The fee for data in 2020 and then 2021 is listed as $2,225,000 and $2,275,000 respectively, the document adds.
A section of an internal Jumpshot document obtained by Motherboard and PCMag. Motherboard has reconstructed the document rather than provide a direct screenshot.
Jumpshot gave Omnicom access to all click feeds from 14 different countries around the world, including the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The product also includes the inferred gender of users "based on browsing behavior," their inferred age, and "the entire URL string" but with personally identifiable information (PII) removed, the contract adds.
Omnicom did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
According to the Omnicom contract, the "device ID" of each user is hashed, meaning the company buying the data should not be able to identify who exactly is behind each piece of browsing activity. Instead, Jumpshot's products are supposed to give insights to companies who may want to see what products are particularly popular, or how effective an ad campaign is working.
"What we don't do is report on the Jumpshot Device ID that executed the clicks to protect against the triangulation of PII," one internal Jumpshot document reads.
But Jumpshot's data may not be totally anonymous. The internal product handbook says that device IDs do not change for each user, "unless a user completely uninstalls and reinstalls the security software." Numerous articles and academic studies have shown how it is possible to unmask people using so-called anonymized data. In 2006, New York Times reporters were able to identify a specific person from a cache of supposedly anonymous search data that AOL publicly released. Although the tested data was more focused on social media links, which Jumpshot redacts somewhat, a 2017 study from Stanford University found it was possible to identify people from anonymous web browsing data.
"De-identification has shown to be a very failure-prone process. There are so many ways it can go wrong," G¼nes Acar, who studies large-scale internet tracking at the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography research group at the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, said.
A section of an internal Jumpshot document obtained by Motherboard and PCMag. Motherboard has reconstructed the document rather than provide a direct screenshot.
De-anonymization becomes a greater concern when considering how the eventual end-users of Jumpshot's data could combine it with their own data.
"Most of the threats posed by de-anonymization'--where you are identifying people'--comes from the ability to merge the information with other data," Acar said. A set of Jumpshot data obtained by Motherboard and PCMag shows how each visited URL comes with a precise timestamp down to the millisecond, which could allow a company with its own bank of customer data to see one user visiting their own site, and then follow them across other sites in the Jumpshot data.
"It's almost impossible to de-identify data," Eric Goldman, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, said. "When they promise to de-identify the data, I don't believe it."
Motherboard and PCMag asked Avast a series of detailed questions about how it protects user anonymity as well as details on some of the company's contracts. Avast did not answer most of the questions but wrote in a statement, "Because of our approach, we ensure that Jumpshot does not acquire personal identification information, including name, email address or contact details, from people using our popular free antivirus software."
"Users have always had the ability to opt out of sharing data with Jumpshot. As of July 2019, we had already begun implementing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our AV, and we are now also prompting our existing free users to make an explicit choice, a process which will be completed in February 2020," it said, adding that the company complies with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across its entire global user base.
"We have a long track record of protecting users' devices and data against malware, and we understand and take seriously the responsibility to balance user privacy with the necessary use of data," the statement added.
"It's almost impossible to de-identify data."
When PCMag installed Avast's antivirus product for the first time this month, the software did ask if they wanted to opt-in to data collection.
"If you allow it, we'll provide our subsidiary Jumpshot Inc. with a stripped and de-identified data set derived from your browsing history for the purpose of enabling Jumpshot to analyze markets and business trends and gather other valuable insights," the opt-in message read. The pop-up did not go into detail on how Jumpshot then uses this browsing data, however.
"The data is fully de-identified and aggregated and cannot be used to personally identify or target you. Jumpshot may share aggregated insights with its customers," the pop-up added.
Just a few days ago, the Twitter account for Avast subsidiary AVG tweeted, "Do you remember the last time you cleaned your #browser history? Storing your browsing history for a long time can take up memory on your device and can put your private info at risk."
Update: This piece has been updated to include a response from Sephora.
Subscribe to our cybersecurity podcast, CYBER.
Green New Deal
Did You Know You Could Get a Tax Deduction For a Vasectomy? | Michael S Kaplan MD
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:46
Most people know that you can get a tax deduction for having a child, but did you know you can also get a deduction for having a vasectomy? Well, you can!
The IRS allows people to claim an exemption for medical expenses that prevent or mitigate a disease, illness or medical condition. According to the IRS, pregnancy is officially considered a medical condition, thereby making vasectomy expenses (as well as any other forms of birth control) eligible as write offs. Curiously, reversing a vasectomy is also eligible for a deduction, as are fertility treatments.
If you've been hesitant about getting a vasectomy due to financial concerns, now may be the best time to make your move. To find a Las Vegas vasectomy doctor, contact Dr. Michael S. Kaplan at (702) 454-6226 for a free consultation.
Would a tax deduction change your decision about getting a vasectomy? Share your response below.
Grammy's
The 2020 Grammys drew the show's smallest audience in more than a decade
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:03
Stop us if you've heard this one: an awards show just slipped in the ratings and drew its smallest audience in years.
This time, it's the 2020 Grammy Awards, which 18.7 million viewers tuned into on Sunday night, per The Hollywood Reporter. That's the Grammys' smallest audience since 2008, when 17.18 million viewers tuned in, the Reporter notes. The 2006 Grammys remain the show's all-time low in terms of viewership, as 17 million people watched that year.
The 2020 Grammys also drew a 5.4 rating among adults 18-49, which Variety notes makes it the lowest-rated, if not the least-watched, Grammys ever.
Still, TVLine notes that this year's Grammys, which saw Billie Eilish sweep the four top categories, was the TV season's highest-rated entertainment program so far. But this continues the trend of awards shows slipping in the ratings after the 2020 Golden Globes drew the smallest audience in eight years. Before that, the 2019 Emmys was a ratings catastrophe, drawing the smallest audience in Emmys history and plunging more than 30 percent from the previous year. With that in mind, the Grammys' drop certainly could have been worse seeing as the Reporter notes the show only declined about five percent in viewers.
Some awards shows have bucked this downward trend, though, including the 2019 Academy Awards, which actually improved its viewership after years of declines. Can the 2020 Oscars hold steady, or will it once again slip like the Grammys? We'll find out when the Oscars air, once again without a host, on Feb. 9. Brendan Morrow
Grammys comeback kid Demi Levato
Grammys Illuminati segments Ariana grande with just intro. Bits to men fire video
Grammys adds tv shows witchcraft and Devil shit
SJW
Stephen King apologizes for controversial tweets about diversity in the Oscars | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:20
Nearly two weeks after his controversial comments about diversity at the Oscars, Stephen King is walking those comments back.
King, 72, tweeted on January 13 that he would, 'never consider diversity in matters of art,' which set off a firestorm of controversy and lead to black filmmaker Ava DuVernay calling him out for the tweet.
On Monday, King penned an op-ed piece for The Washington Post, where he admitted that he, 'stepped over' a line with his comments in a piece titled, 'The Oscars are still rigged in favor of white people.'
Walking back: Nearly two weeks after his controversial comments about diversity at the Oscars, Stephen King is walking those comments back
Diversity: King, 72, tweeted on January 13 that he would, 'never consider diversity in matters of art,' which set off a firestorm of controversy and lead to black filmmaker Ava DuVernay calling him out for the tweet
The Institute author began his piece by stating that discussions of the arts have become, 'increasingly acrimonious and polarized' in recent years.
He added that, 'lines of belief are drawn with indelible ink' and admitting he, 'stepped over one of those lines recently' with his comments that he, 'mistakenly thought was noncontroversial.
'The subject was the Academy Awards,' he added. 'I also said, in essence, that those judging creative excellence should be blind to questions of race, gender or sexual orientation.'
Acrimonious: The Institute author began his piece by stating that discussions of the arts have become, 'increasingly acrimonious and polarized' in recent years
'I did not say that was the case today, because nothing could be further from the truth,' King added.
'Nor did I say that films, novels, plays and music focusing on diversity and/or inequality cannot be works of creative genius. They can be, and often are,' he said.
The author also pointed to the woman who called him out, Ava DuVernay, calling her 2019 Netflix miniseries When They See Us, 'a splendid case in point.'
Not the case: 'I did not say that was the case today, because nothing could be further from the truth,' King added
Ava: The author also pointed to the woman who called him out, Ava DuVernay, calling her 2019 Netflix miniseries When They See Us, 'a splendid case in point'
Ava's tweet: Ava DuVernay called out Stephen King for his controversial diversity tweet
He went on to add there has been progress in the filmmaking community in terms of diversity, pointing to the Academy's push for diversity within its ranks by inviting hundreds of new diverse members after 2015's 'Oscars So White' controversy.
Still, he added it's 'Not good enough. Not even within shouting distance of good enough.'
He said the Academy deserves some credit for 'trying to catch up,' but still most of the Best Picture nominees are what his sons call 'man-fiction' that feature fights and predominantly white faces.
Progress: He went on to add there has been progress in the filmmaking community in terms of diversity, pointing to the Academy's push for diversity within its ranks by inviting hundreds of new diverse members after 2015's 'Oscars So White' controversy
He also questioned the Academy's methods, since their voters are supposed to look at every film in serious contention but there is no way of proving whether they actually do, since it's on the 'honor system.'
He concluded that creative works should be judged 'blind,' with no consideration to diversity, but he acknowledged, 'this would be the case in a perfect world, one where the game isn't rigged in favor of the white folks.'
'We don't live in that perfect world, and this year's less-than-diverse Academy Awards nominations once more prove it. Maybe someday we will. I can dream, can't I? After all, I make stuff up for a living,' he concluded.
Questioned: He also questioned the Academy's methods, since their voters are supposed to look at every film in serious contention but there is no way of proving whether they actually do, since it's on the 'honor system'
Epstein
Warden who was in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died gets cushy Club Fed job | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:50
Warden who was in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died behind bars is quietly given a top job at 'Club Fed' prison - despite Bill Barr ordering him assigned to a lowly desk jobLamine N'Diaye is being reassigned to a leadership role at FCI Fort Dix The low-security 'Club Fed' prison is in Burlington County, New Jersey N'Diaye was warden at MCC Manhattan when Epstein died in his cell thereAG Bill Barr ordered N'Diaye posted at a desk job until investigation is complete By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com and Associated Press
Published: 01:17 EST, 25 January 2020 | Updated: 05:13 EST, 26 January 2020
Epstein was found dead in his cell in August 2019 while facing sex trafficking charges
The warden in charge when Jeffrey Epstein died in his jail cell is getting a cushy new supervisor's job at 'Club Fed' despite Attorney General Bill Barr's demand that he be reassigned to a desk job.
Lamine N'Diaye is being reassigned to a leadership role at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey, two people familiar with the matter said.
The move comes months after Barr ordered N'Diaye be reassigned to a desk post at the Bureau of Prisons' regional office in Pennsylvania after Epstein´s death as the FBI and the Justice Department´s inspector general investigated.
One of the people said the agency planned to move N´Diaye into the new role on February 2. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal personnel matter.
Lamine N'Diaye is being reassigned to a leadership role at FCI Fort Dix (above), a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey
It was unclear why the agency was planning to return N'Diaye to a position supervising inmates and staff members, even though multiple investigations into Epstein´s death remain active.
The inspector general's investigation is continuing, and the Justice Department is still probing the circumstances that led to Epstein´s death, including why he wasn´t given a cellmate.
Epstein died in August while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
Epstein's death cast a spotlight on the Bureau of Prisons and highlighted a series of safety lapses inside a high-security unit of one of the most secure jails in America.
His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding and argued he may have been killed.
Barr said even Epstein's ability to take his own life in federal custody had raised 'serious questions that must be answered.'
He said in an interview with the AP in November that the investigation revealed a 'series' of mistakes made that gave Epstein the chance to take his own life and that his death was the result of 'a perfect storm of screw-ups.'
Epstein died in August at MCC Manhattan (above) while awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida
His cell is seen above after his death. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner, but his attorneys have contested that finding
Two correctional officers responsible for watching Epstein have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they lied on prison records to make it seem as though they had checked on Epstein, as required, before his death.
Instead, investigators say they appeared to sleep for two hours and had been browsing the internet - shopping for furniture and motorcycles - instead of watching Epstein, who was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.
The attorney general also removed the agency´s acting director in the wake of Epstein's death and named Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the prison agency´s director from 1992 until 2003, to replace him.
Since Epstein´s death and N'Diaye´s removal as warden, the Manhattan jail has had two interim leaders.
The newest warden, M. Licon-Vitale, used to oversee a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Her first big order of business has been to deal with jailed lawyer Michael Avenatti's complaints about his treatment at the lockup.
The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued for years by chronic violence, extensive staffing shortages and serious misconduct.
Advertisement
Tuesday's national newspaper front pages | UK News | Sky News
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:42
22:44The Daily Mail quotes the FBI, which, the paper says, wants to know why Prince Andrew won't help them in their investigation into paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life last year.
Green New Deal
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's actress wife Louise Linton backs Greta Thunberg over her husband | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:51
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's actress wife Louise Linton shared - and then quickly deleted - an Instagram post backing Greta Thunberg instead of her husband after he told the 17-year-old activist to go to college before lecturing people on climate change.
Mnuchin took a swipe at Thunberg during a press briefing at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday over her recommendation that both the public and private sectors should divest from fossil fuels.
When asked how that would affect the US economic model, Mnuchin said of Thunberg: 'Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I'm confused.'
Then following a brief pause, he said it was 'a joke,' adding: 'After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.'
Linton waded into the controversy with an Instagram post on Saturday.
In the caption of a photo collage with Thunberg and Mnuchin, the 39-year-old Scottish actress wrote: 'I stand with Greta on this issue. (I don't have a degree in economics either) We need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels. Keep up the fight @GretaThunberg.'
The post was taken down without explanation after about 30 minutes.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's actress wife Louise Linton (pictured together) shared - and then quickly deleted - an Instagram post backing Greta Thunberg instead of her husband after he told the 17-year-old activist to go to college before lecturing people on climate change
Linton waded into the controversy by sharing the photo above on Instagram Saturday and expressing her support for Thunberg in the caption
Linton also addressed her husband's comments in a since-deleted post on her Instagram story.
The post included a screenshot of a direct message thread with a critic who responded to one of her photos.
The critic wrote: 'Very cool that you post about loving animals and are heartbroken about wildfire devastation, but you're married to a pencil d***ed man who is bullying a teenage activist trying to publicly discuss climate change. You must be married to a wonderful man! Bet you love his money very much.'
Linton sarcastically responded: 'Thanks for this. Lovely to wake up to and start my day with.
'I am not my husband. Thanks. I happen to love Greta. Whatever he says has nothing to do with my views or opinions and what you just did was bully me, unjustly.
'Thanks for the kick in the teeth. Have a lovely day.'
New York Magazine correspondent Olivia Nuzzi shared a screenshot of the post before it was deleted.
Linton also addressed her husband's comments in a since-deleted post on her Instagram story
Thunberg personally hit back at Mnuchin in a series of tweets on Wednesday - writing that it 'doesn't take a college degree to realise that our remaining 1.5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don't add up'.
Without naming Mnuchin specifically, she added that 'either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments'.
Thunberg continued to brush off his comments at a press briefing on Friday, saying they had 'no effect' on her or her fellow campaigners.
She acknowledged such young activists 'are being criticized all the time.'
'We cannot care about those kinds of things,' she said, insisting that her priority was drawing attention and action to concerns about global warming.
'The situation is not being treated like the crisis it is.'
Thunberg hit back at Mnuchin in a series of tweets on Wednesday
Thunberg met Britain's Prince Charles just after Mnuchin's comments, as all three attended the Davos World Economic Forum
Over the past year, Thunberg has taken issue with many aspects of US policy, including President Donald Trump's decision to pull the country out of the Paris accord to limit global warming.
Mnuchin insisted that US policy has been misinterpreted, and that Trump 'absolutely believes' in a clean environment.
The US, Mnuchin said, has been a leader in reducing carbon emissions. 'What the president objects to is the Paris agreement, because he thought it was an unfair agreement for the United States.'
Mnuchin said the US position had been 'misunderstood'.
'There is a real misinterpretation of the US policy. Let me be very clear: President Trump absolutely believes in clean air and clean water and having a clean environment.'
Mnuchin and Linton are pictured together in October 2017
The Trump administration and Greta Thunberg have sparred indirectly since Tuesday on panels in Davos but organizers have carefully averted any direct confrontation.
In a speech on Tuesday, Trump castigated the 'prophets of doom' and those that predicted a climate 'apocalypse', while Thunberg sat in the audience.
Shortly before leaving the Swiss ski resort, Trump said he would have 'loved' to have met the activist, Time magazine's Person of the Year.
Thunberg repeated her climate warnings, hammering home in her speech that it was time to 'panic' because 'the house is burning', as she did the previous year in Davos.
Mnuchin attended Yale, where his father also went. He graduated with a bachelors degree which he confirmed for the first time Thursday was in economics. He then went to work for Goldman Sachs, where his father had also worked.
He went on to found the film production company Dune Entertainment, which in addition to helping out in the relaunch of the Mad Max franchise in 2015, has The Lego Movie and Wonder Woman among its credits.
Mnuchin and Linton met through mutual friends in 2013 and tied the knot four years later in 2017.
Thunberg listens to a speech by President Donald Trump at a plenary session during the Davos forum on Tuesday
Mnuchin, 57, and Linton, 39, are pictured together in 2017, the year they tied the knot
Armageddon
Robert Steele: Lee Wanta '-- A Good Man Lost? UPDATE 7 Dismissal of AmeriTrade and Michael C. Cottrell '' Public Intelligence Blog
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 09:51
Recently I visited Lee Wanta and we had a talk over lunch and then at a place whose location I will never reveal, where he lives and works. In this photo taken with his permission, the Trump cap is my gift to him, the Navy cap is from one of his special missions long ago.
I was not going to discuss all of this ever in public '-- my objective in visiting was to help Lee Wanta and his family, help our President, and help our public treasury, but recently a defamatory and rather stupid alternative media crap piece has been published [UPDATE 6: taken down by the author ]
Wanta Forced to Flee! Refuses $1 Billion Offer to Sell Out USA! Heneghan
Some of the writing about me at the above link [was] defamatory and legally liable. My life is open, start at https://robertdavidsteele.com.
It was Gordon Duff, a fellow veteran and Senior Editor at Veterans Today, who introduced me to Lee Wanta whom he has known for decades, with the intent of applying my intelligence to Lee's persistent problem.
Between them, Lee Wanta and Gordon Duff know so much vital but very classified information, both of them clearly dedicated to saving the US from the storm that's coming. Year after year, America's economy is looted while fake wars kill millions around the world and leave America's streets and cemeteries strewn with America's castaways, the veterans that fight to defend freedom and end up chattel to the Deep State'.... We three '-- and others '-- share the goal of ending elective wars that are nothing more than profit centers for the Deep State.
My goal was and remains simple: to connect Lee Wanta, and what he knows about trillions in off-shore wealth that could be brought home, to the President. The primary obstacle at this time is Lee Wanta himself.
After discussing this with Lee Wanta as well as Gordon Duff and one other top gun, I offer the following:
Here is my report.
01 Lee Wanta is authentic. While I have not personally examined all of the documentation he has available to him, his overall account strikes me as credible and worthy of a proper deposition by someone trusted by President Trump.
02 Lee Wanta is losing it. In the course of four hours, two of them at his home office, he kept printing stuff off for me that in the end was mixed garbage repeated three times.
03 Lee Wanta says that Eric Trump has been sniffing around him to include direct telephone calls, but gave up on him. I can understand why.
04 Whoever is sending emails out from ''Ambassador Lee Wanta'' is totally discrediting Lee, a good man who may now be on the verge of losing sight of the reality of the possible and thus any hope of recovering any amount of money for his good family to inherit. I believe everyone receiving those emails has relegated them to spam.
05 While Lee Wanta claims to have court findings in his favor, the one court case he gave me, which I happened to be familiar with from my past life in CIA, was that of a Soviet couple that defected and wanted CIA to reinstate payments to them when their existing sources of income established with CIA help in the beginning, collapsed. CIA was under no obligation to do so. I have seen no evidence at all that George Tenet every validated Lee Wanta's status as an agent (not a government employee '-- we are called officers).
06 In my view Lee Wanta is incorrect in believing that the trillions of dollars are his. Had Lee been a Non-Official Cover (NOC) officer, or even a contractor buying and selling rubles as an agent of the US Government (which I believe he did do and do very well), the money belongs to the public. I do believe a case can be made that there are trillions of dollars in off budget earnings that were created in an act ordered by President Ronald Reagan and/or George H. W. Bush that should revert to the US Treasury with an appropriate recovery fee to Lee Wanta.
07 In my view Lee Wanta has one shot at giving his family a billion dollar or even ten billion dollar inheritance, and that is to work with Eric Trump and Jefferson Sessions, still my favorite, to get to a spread sheet that can be acted upon so as to recover trillions for the US Treasury (not the Federal Reserve). Time is running out '-- making this deal now, before 1 March 2019, would be most beneficial to Lee's family and to the President and the public.
I will always be ready to help Lee Wanta, but on his present course all he has is stacks of paper, totally disorganized, that he keeps printing and emailing over and over and over again. There is a pot of gold, but he has no idea how to get it and will not listen to those who do.
St.
See Also:
Ambassador Lee Wanta with Sarah Westall on Ronald Reagan, Stolen Trillions, Trump Success Against Deep State, and More'...
UPDATE 1:
There are those who feel strongly that Lee Wanta is a thief and was part of a conspiracy set in motion when GHW Bush was Director of the CIA and weaponized bank fraud. We know that Buzzy Krongard and John Brennan later ran a Gold War against Russia that was laundered ($240B worth) via the contrived 9/11 false flag operation that was commercial insurance fraud as well as an atrocity and obstruction of justice (the deliberate destruction of all SEC and other investigative files in WTC 7 which was not hit by anything.
Below, with a tip of the hat to Phantom Phixer, is the most negative version of the Lee Wanta story:
OPERATION STILLPOINT '... to take down the United States, by Christopher Story (RIP), 7 January 2010
From where I sit, there is no dispute with respect to Lee Wanta's authenticity or the existence of trillions in offshore money that could be recovered by President Donald Trump and the US Treasury if this is managed correctly.
Clearly there have been great crimes committed under the direction of successive CIA Directors including GHW Bush and Leon Panetta (who also murdered multiple SEALS by authorizing a mission against a known fake Bin Laden, and also lost his nerve on Benghazi). This all appears to merit a criminal grand jury commissioned by the US Attorney General.
I am remiinded that Bill Casey is in this mix as Ronald Reagan's Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).
This is relevant because Casey was a wizard at economic structuring to achieve tax and regulatory avoidance. I believe this means that he was also a wizard at offshore financial operations and import-export tax avoidance.
Lee Wanta should be '-- with the utmost courtesy and comfort but also the utmost rigor '-- be totally debriefed and every piece of paper in his garage scanned and processed toward understanding. A spreadsheet must be created of all alleged accounts, amounts, dates, names, places.
This has not been done. Instead people have been killed and Wanta himself has been illegally jailed and moved around various jails by law enforcement people acting on fraudulent papers created by corrupt judges and prosecutors. Wanta should be in a witness protection program and squeezed for every fact he can muster with a ''Presidential Interest'' stamp on the whole matter.
When all is said and done, and assuming the good intentions of President Reagan with respect to high speed rail and veterans programs and other major investments are verified, the bulk of the monies should be recovered by the US Treasury, allocated as the President sees fit (possibly without requiring Congressional approval if they can be said to be earnings on Executive investments) and Lee Wanta and his family amply rewarded with no less than one billion and no more than ten billion dollars tax free in perpetuity.
Additional References:
Lee Wanta Author @ Veterans Today
Coming soon: single PDF for entire biography (book) on Wanta
UPDATE 2:
A retired senior intelligence officer has read the negative reference above and informs me that it is his understanding that Christopher Story was captured and controlled early on and turned against Wanta; Storysubsequently appears to have been assassinated with a weaponized virus.
From where I sit, Lee Wanta is legitimate and operated with the best of intentions. I am a fan of Bill Casey and before him William Colby, and I scorn GHW Bush, George Tenet, and Leon Panetta.
UPDATE 3:
One of the wonderful things about the open source world is that collective intelligence kicks into gear (unfortunately so does collective stupidity as evinced by the clowns that are defaming me without a clue).
Preston JamesThe below reference crafted by Dr. Preston James has been provided to me by another retired senior intelligence officer and is the definitive audio recording proving that Lee Wanta and his program were considered a plum target for hijacking by former Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist and former South Dakota State Senator Sheldon R. Songstad.
Recording Only: Listen Here
The entire article is worth reading, it is the single most concise and most positive summary of Ambassador Lee Wanta's accomplishments and the vision of peace and constructive engagement that President Ronald Reagan and DCI William Casey contrived together '-- it is not to be confused with the high crimes of GHW Bush and Leon Panetta, or the Gold War criminal actions of George Tenet, Buzzy Krongard, and John Brennan.
PuppetGate
For information: not only are the Chinese in the lead on high speed rail, but Buckminster Fuller met with the Russians to discuss the below graphic '-- a seamless global network for energy showing how all land points could be connected; this same concept could be used for high speed rail.
In my humble opinion, Xi, Putin, and Trump are now a tri-umverate, they know it, their staffs do not get it, we are well on our way to 1,000 years of world peace and prosperity that kicked off in 2012.
See Also:
Gold War @ Phi Beta Iota
UPDATE 4:
Update 4, provided by Gordon Duff, Senior Editor at Veteran's Today, provides a short introduction (above) and a minor change to our evaluation of the twits defaming me (also above).
UPDATE 5:
The clowns have published again; REDACTED has received a legal ''cease and desist'' warning that includes Tom Heneghan and Stew Webb.
FBI Division 5 Tried To Kill Wanta! Heneghan
[UPDATE 6: taken down by the author ]
UPDATE 6:
Both defamatory posts have been taken down by the author after I brought this post and the facts to his attention. I don't like lawsuits '-- it is annoying to do transcripts and the federal courts moves like shit on a very cold day '-- but I have a multimillion dollar defamation lawsuit active now and I know how to defend myself against those who would defame me.
UPDATE 7:
Lee Wanta is a good man, no question. He appears to have been a low-level sheriff elevated by the Reagan Administration to the heights of access, and did some good things. Michael C. Cottrell and AmeriTrade appear to be total zeros with no substance at all. Below is the most effective summary of why we see it that way.
Leo Wanta Update (12-12-06): Who is Michael C. Cottrell?
We do not publicize interviews by click-bait morons that glorify frauds and postures, but have posted this update because that is precisely what has led to a resurgence of visits to this post. Nobody does homework anymore. Nobody cares about quality control for vacuous interviews without merit.
Iran
CIA boss 'behind Soleimani assassination killed in plane crash in Afghanistan', Iranian news claims | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 10:02
An Iranian news agency has claimed a CIA chief who helped plan the assassination of general Qassem Soleimani was killed in a plane crash yesterday in Afghanistan.
The highly dubious report comes after a US official confirmed today that the remains of two American personnel had been recovered from the wreckage of the E-11A communications jet which crashed in the Dih Yak district.
The official added that there was no evidence it had been downed by enemy fire despite claims by the Taliban - amplified by Iranian media - that the jet had been shot down.
Reports by an Iranian news agency and Kremlin-linked news sites have claimed that among the dead was Michael D'Andrea, a CIA boss credited with hunting down Osama bin Laden, known as the 'Dark Prince' and 'Ayatollah Mike.'
The Pentagon yesterday denied that a Taliban shot down the E-11A aircraft in the Dih Yak district, saying the communications jet had crashed. A US official confirmed today that the remains of two American personnel had been recovered from the site
The Taliban said it was responsible for shooting down the aircraft, a Bombardier E-11A which is used by the US Air Force to carry out surveillance missions. The terror group further claimed they ambushed US and Afghan personnel arriving on the scene, however the US official today said the military were not met with resistance
Iranian media and Kremlin-linked news sites have claimed that among the dead was Michael D'Andrea, a CIA chief credited with hunting down Osama bin Laden known as the 'Dark Prince'
Iranian propaganda agency, Mehr News, reported today that D'Andrea, who played 'a pivotal role in many acts of terror, including the assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani,' was killed.
It cited the pro-Kremlin website Veterans Today, which quoted Russian intelligence sources claiming D'Andrea had been killed and vital intelligence aboard the jet seized.
It claimed that the jet was not a standard US communications plane, but D'Andrea's mobile command centre and was also carrying other high-ranking operatives.
D'Andrea's name began to crop up frequently across Farsi channels in the wake of the US drone strike which killed Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.
According to Iran's Tasnim agency - which has strong links to the IRGC - 'D'Andrea is the most prominent figure in the US CIA in the Middle East.'
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, claimed yesterday that several high-ranking American officers were among the dead after the plane came down at 1.10pm local time.
He also claimed that Taliban forces had ambushed Afghan forces backed by U.S. military support sent to secure the crash site.
However, the US official speaking today said the American recovery teams met no Taliban resistance in reaching the crash site.
The official was speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement on the crash.
Monday's plane crash is not expected to derail U.S.-Taliban peace talks if the crash investigation determines, as expected, that it was not the result of hostile action.
Images from the scene showed what appeared to be burned paperwork from inside the aircraft, along with the crest of US Air Combat Command
Monday's plane crash is not expected to derail U.S.-Taliban peace talks if the crash investigation determines, as expected, that it was not the result of hostile action
It comes after footage was posted online by a Taliban-affiliated journalist showed wreckage of the plane with a US Air Force symbol on the side.
Footage taken by journalist Tariq Ghazniwal shows the burning remains of a jet lying in the snow as several people stand around filming.
Security forces were sent to the site immediately after receiving a report of the crash, but were ambushed by Taliban fighters, Ghazni provincial police chief Khalid Wardak told Reuters.
The jet appeared to be one of four modified civilian Bombardier aircraft used by the USAF to link together communication equipment in order to support troops on the ground (file)
Taliban spokesman Mujahid said Afghan forces (on the scene yesterday) backed by U.S. military support had tried to capture the area around the crashed aircraft and clashed with fighters of the Islamist militant group. A US official denied that claim today
The plane came down in the Dih Yak region, around 80 miles south of Kabul, which is controlled by the Taliban
'As per our information, there are four bodies and two onboard were alive and they are missing,' Wardak said, adding that the forces subsequently received an order to retreat and airborne action is to be taken instead.
Taliban spokesman Mujahid said Afghan forces backed by U.S. military support had tried to capture the area around the crashed aircraft and clashed with fighters of the Islamist militant group.
The attempt was repelled, however, he told Reuters, but added that the Taliban would allow a rescue team access to recover bodies from the crash site.
'Taliban fighters on the ground counted six bodies at the site of the U.S. airplane crash,' he said, adding that while there could have been more, the militant group could not be certain, as fire had reduced everything to ashes.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, U.S. officials said yesterday the plane was carrying fewer than five when it crashed, with one official saying initial information showed there were at least two.
The site has not been visited by U.S. officials or any other members of the international force in Afghanistan, but the Taliban claim to have brought down the plane is misleading, a U.S. defence official told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that a preliminary probe showed there was a mechanical error.
The crashed aircraft, built by Bombardier Inc, is used to provide communication capabilities in remote locations.
Clips
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VIDEO - Coronavirus: Outrage after Chinese stars replaced with illustration of viral infection | #TheCube | Euronews
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:23
An illustration published in a Danish newspaper has become the centre of a social media storm within China.
The Jyllands-Posten published a 'satirical drawing' of the Chinese flag with the five stars replaced with adaptations of the coronavirus.
The Chinese embassy in Denmark issued a statement, demanding an apology from the newspaper while calling the adapted flag "an insult to China that hurts the feelings of the Chinese people".
"Without any sympathy and empathy, it has crossed the bottom line of civilised society and the ethical boundary of free speech and offends human conscience," the statement said.
The satirical illustration also sparked controversy on Chinese social media, with the issue trending on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
Some echoed calls for the newspaper to apologise while others called on the Danish ambassador to issue an apology.
Jyllands-Posten has been at the centre of controversy in the past. In 2005, the Danish newspaper published satirical images of the Prophet Muhammad.
VIDEO -SEE EMAIL- Examining the Trump Administration's Afghanistan Strategy - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:17
VIDEO - Nigel Farage silenced for breaking the rules during his final speech in the EU Parliament - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:11
VIDEO - France bans culling of male chicks and castration of piglets without anaesthetic - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:08
VIDEO - The UK's divorce date is set. But is Brexit really over? | ABC News - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:05
VIDEO - Coronavirus: Scientists race to develop a vaccine - BBC News
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:03
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Inside the US laboratory developing a coronavirus vaccineA deadly new virus. Thousands of people infected. No cure. No vaccine.
We've been here many times before.
In the past five years alone, the world has faced outbreaks of Ebola, Zika, another coronavirus called Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and now the virus simply known as "2019-nCoV".
It's already infected thousands of people and killed more than 100.
But unlike in many previous outbreaks, where vaccines to protect people have taken years to develop, research for a vaccine to help stem this outbreak got under way within hours of the virus being identified.
Chinese officials released its genetic code very quickly. That information helps scientists determine where the virus probably came from, how it might mutate as the outbreak develops, and how to protect people against it.
With technological advances and greater commitment from governments around the world to fund research on emerging diseases, research facilities were able to spring into action fast.
Unprecedented speedAt Inovio's lab in San Diego, scientists are using a relatively new type of DNA technology to develop a potential vaccine. "INO-4800 " - as it's currently called - with plans for it to enter human trials by the early summer.
Kate Broderick, senior vice-president of research and development at Inovio, said: "Once China had provided the DNA sequence of this virus, we were able to put it through our lab's computer technology and design a vaccine within three hours.
"Our DNA medicine vaccines are novel in that they use DNA sequences from the virus to target specific parts of the pathogen which we believe the body will mount the strongest response to.
"We then use the patient's own cells to become a factory for the vaccine, strengthening the body's own natural response mechanisms."
Image caption Scientists hope to have a vaccine ready to enter human trial by early summer Inovio says if the initial human trials are a success, larger trials would follow, ideally in an outbreak setting in China "by the end of the year".
It is impossible to predict whether this outbreak is likely to have ended by then. But if Inovio's timeline goes to plan, the company says it will be the quickest a new vaccine has ever been developed and tested in an outbreak situation.
The last time a similar virus - Sars - emerged in 2002 - China was slow to let the world know what was happening. So by the time work on a vaccine started in earnest, the outbreak was almost over.
The timeline of 2019-nCoV
31 December 2019 - China alerts the World Health Organization (WHO) about a spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan1 January 2020 - The seafood/animal market believed to be at the centre of the outbreak is closed9 January - The WHO says the infection is caused by a new type of coronavirus10 January - China shares the genetic code of the new virus11 January - Scientists start working on a vaccine - and the first death confirmed13 January - Virus spreads abroad for the first time, with a case in Thailand The work in these labs is being funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi), which is made up of and funded by governments and philanthropic organisations from around the world.
It was created in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to provide funding to accelerate the development of vaccines for new diseases.
Dr Melanie Saville, director of vaccine research and development at Cepi, said: "The mission is to make sure that outbreaks are no longer a threat to humanity and to develop vaccines for emerging infectious diseases."
'Molecular clamp'Cepi is also funding two other programmes that are developing a vaccine for this new coronavirus.
The University of Queensland is working on a "molecular clamp" vaccine, which it says "enables targeted and rapid vaccine production against multiple viral pathogens."
Image caption Fermenters grow bacteria to provide the main ingredient for a vaccine Moderna Inc in Massachusetts has also joined forces with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to accelerate its research.
The WHO is co-ordinating this global quest for a new vaccine. It says it is following the progress of a number of research facilities, including the three supported by Cepi.
Although efforts to come up with a vaccine for this new coronavirus have been accelerated, research is still at an early stage at all the facilities in the race to find a new vaccine. Clinical trials take time and are best carried out within an outbreak setting.
There are no guarantees any of the designs so far will be safe and effective enough to be used in the outbreak in China.
Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo from the WHO's Health Emergencies programme said: "We have developed a framework to inform decisions on which candidate vaccine(s) should be tested first.
"The experts will consider a number of criteria, including acceptable safety profile, induction of appropriate immune responses, and the timely availability of sufficient supplies of vaccine doses.
"Understanding the disease, its reservoirs, its transmission, its clinical severity and developing effective counter measures is critical for the control of the outbreak."
The WHO is due to decide which vaccine will be tested on humans first in the coming days.
Learn more about the new virus Image copyright Getty Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What are viruses? And how do they spread?
VIDEO - headache-fever-and-a-chill.mp3
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:57
VIDEO - HIDDEN CAMERA: Police interrogated me about my Justin Trudeau book. They didn't know I videotaped it - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:29
VIDEO-40mins-WATCH: Dershowitz says charges against Trump are 'outside' of impeachment offenses - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 05:59
VIDEO-BONDI TIME: Pam Bondi DETAILS Hunter Biden Ukraine Connection - YouTube
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 00:06
VIDEO-New Documentary Sheds Light on Ukrainegate '' Consortiumnews
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 23:36
I'd much rather read than watch (bad for my eyes) or listen, so have missed out on this revealing item. However, it is excellent that CN has posted the access to this video for those more than willing to view (I'd love to read a transcript, mind) it.
Makes me wonder if the existence of this evidence has *anything* to do with NPR's Morning Edition today and the new (?) ''Russia (GRU) did it'' story they are happily broadcasting about the (purported) hacking of Burisma's email accounts. Their source of info? Some CA based ''cybersecurity'' company called Area 1 Security. Yep, those scary, dastardly Russians (the *only* country with hackers, let alone government funded hackers) have been at it again '' and, of course, they have had ill intent, just as they did vis a vis Killary's election campaign'...
This is from NPR's website, what was said by the Security firm's co-founder: '' ''What we've uncovered is that the same Russian cyber actors who targeted the DNC in 2016 have been actively launching a phishing campaign against employees of Burisma Holdings and its subsidiaries, to try to steal their email usernames and passwords,'' Area 1 co-founder Oren Falkowitz tells NPR's Noel King.''
Well, of course.
Just in case anyone in the US population begins to raise their head above the Huxleyan-Orwellian propaganda and gets other ideas about what reality really looks like'... And perhaps in preparation for an impeachment trial taking place in the Senate and the Biden gangsters being subpoenaed'....Gotta keep the lid on it.
VIDEO-All the times Trump said the constitution let's him do whatever he wants - YouTube
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:36
VIDEO-DNC chair names John Podesta & other Clinton loyalists to Convention Committee, triggering revolt from voters fearing 2016 2.0 '-- RT USA News
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:19
Democrats hoping their party learned from its 2016 failure have been horrified to discover many of those behind Hillary Clinton's losing campaign '' including John Podesta of hacked email fame '' have major Convention posts.
Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez has unveiled a 2020 Democratic Convention lousy with Clinton loyalists '' Podesta merely the most notorious among them '' alongside former Obama administration officials and corporate lobbyists. Democrats hoping the centrist old guard had relinquished its death-grip on the party are livid, and at least one campaign is pushing back.
''If the DNC believes it's going to get away in 2020 with what it did in 2016, it has another thing coming,'' Bernie Sanders campaign co-chair Nina Turner told progressive YouTube channel Status Coup on Monday. The appointments, she said, were ''a slap in the face.''
The DNC should be ashamed of itself.
A petition launched by Sanders supporters to have Podesta, the 2016 Clinton campaign director who infamously said in one leaked email that he agreed Sanders should be ''ground to a pulp,'' removed from all convention committees had gathered 1,400 signatures by Tuesday morning. Podesta has served as a lightning rod for progressive rage thanks to his high profile as ground zero for WikiLeaks' disclosures of the DNC's corruption. However, he's far from the only one threatening to turn the 2020 convention into a repeat of 2016. The DNC's appointments include a slate of figures cartoonishly hostile to the party's progressive wing, from insurance industry lobbyists to a former ambassador to Israel.
The Platform Committee, which, as its name suggests, sets the platform the eventual Democratic nominee will campaign on, is co-chaired by Jake Sullivan, a former senior policy adviser for both of Clinton's failed presidential campaigns who served as a national security adviser to establishment-favorite candidate Joe Biden when the latter was Obama's vice president. Also on the committee is Bakari Sellers, a 2016 Clinton campaign surrogate who served in the same role for California Senator Kamala Harris in her failed 2020 presidential run. Sellers, a proud member of Israeli lobbying behemoth AIPAC, once snarked of Sanders, ''I don't have a problem with Bernie getting in the race '' when is he getting out is probably a better question.'' Dan Shapiro, former US ambassador to Israel, is also on the committee, along with a host of other lobbyists and Clinton affiliates.
Also on rt.com Podesta 36: WikiLeaks published 300 more emails from Clinton's campaign chief The Rules Committee boasts its own rogues' gallery of centrist hardliners including, but not limited to, Podesta. Barney Frank, the former Massachusetts congressman whom Sanders slammed as an ''aggressive attack surrogate'' for Clinton when he headed the Rules Committee in 2016 is back as co-chair of the committee for 2020. Co-chairing is Maria Cardona, a healthcare industry lobbyist who penned an anti-Sanders editorial for Univision in 2016 and has repeatedly likened progressive reforms to ''turning the US into Venezuela.'' Vice-chair Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker endorsed Clinton in 2016 and serves as an adviser to former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg's 2020 campaign. Former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who has written editorials opposing Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and the idea of taxing the rich, is also on the committee. A former Clinton campaign chief administrative officer, a World Bank executive, and a sprinkling of former 2016 superdelegates, Obama officials, and lobbyists virulently opposed to the policies favored by the party's progressive wing round out the Rules Committee.
Democrats were mystified by the tone-deafness of Perez's picks.
Like seriously - have you seen this? Why would Perez appoint John Podesta, who literally said he wanted to stick a knife in Bernie in 2016? It's like they're trying to make progressives despise the party even more than they already do.https://t.co/JM2pwAG3Ex
'-- 🌹 Goody Weaver Cavorting With The Devil 🌹 (@goodyweaver) January 28, 2020John Podesta is a global laughingstock. Mr. "My password is password" leaked all the emails proving the DNC and Clinton campaign rigged 2016 primary. If he's part of @TomPerez 2020 process, this primary is already corrupt.
'-- Ministry of Information - Social Media Assurance🥯 (@Dissensual) January 28, 2020Even Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who faced off against Clinton and Trump in 2016, called the party out for ''stacking the DNC committees with Never-Bernie corporate Dem elites.''
Tom Perez is stacking the DNC committees with Never-Bernie corporate Dem elites like John Podesta. As in 2016, the DNC will do all it can to stop Sanders' nomination - despite him being the most popular politician in the US. Why do you think they kept the superdelegates? https://t.co/7zr0Cs6DQH
'-- Dr. Jill SteinðŸŒ>> (@DrJillStein) January 27, 2020''Superdelegates,'' who can pledge to whichever candidate they please regardless of voters' picks, were barred from the first round of convention voting after the 2016 primary debacle. However, with the Democratic field still crowded, the vote is likely to go to a second round, at which point superdelegates reenter the picture '' and, progressive Democrats fear, 2020 becomes a repeat of 2016.
Also on rt.com DNC argues it had the right to rig 2016 democratic primary
VIDEO-ABC News on Twitter: "Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz: "If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." https://t.co/jKErQcS1Iy ht
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:17
Log in Sign up ABC News @ ABC Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz: "If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."
abcn.ws/2S37weJ pic.twitter.com/zo4rL6Zbla 11:19 AM - 29 Jan 2020 Twitter by: ABC News @ABC ABC News @ ABC
2h Replying to
@ABC Rep. Adam Schiff responds to Alan Dershowitz's "odd argument.""In every courtroom in America...the question of the defendant's intent and state of mind is always an issue. This is nothing novel here. You don't require a mindreader."
abcn.ws/2S37weJ twitter.com/ABC/status/122'... View conversation · P(C) Resists @ 4everNeverTrump
3h Replying to
@ABC Ah, going with the "when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal" Nixonian defense, I see.That worked well for Nixon.
View conversation · P(C) Resists @ 4everNeverTrump
3h Replying to
@ABC So the standard Dershowitz is arguing for is: "if the President subjectively thinks what he's doing is okay, then it is indeed okay"...That would literally make it impossible to impeach a President and even make suing the US Government for wrongdoing impossible.
View conversation · Walter Shaub @ waltshaub
2h Replying to
@ABC I wonder if any of Trump's political rivals will feel the need to report this inadvertent anti-Trump campaign ad by Dershowitz as an in-kind campaign contribution.
View conversation · Sheryl Landgraf 🌊ðŸ"¸'ðŸŒ @ Landgrafs11
2h Replying to
@waltshaub @ABC This statement has me over the top. Am I over reacting or is this statement as bad as I think it is? Please help.
View conversation · Andrew C Laufer, Esq @ lauferlaw
2h Replying to
@ABC How about ABC pushing back on this Absolute Monarchy nonsense instead of leaving this ridiculous quote to stand alone as your lede. ''A crime isn't a crime if the King commits it....''
View conversation · Alaric the Minnesotan ""º¹ @ RockyTheAussie1
2h Replying to
@lauferlaw @ABC The best thing everyone could do is rip the roof off this thing. Trump survives impeachment he will carry out a level of revenge that will curl your hair. Sorry I mean scalp.
View conversation · XLProfessor @ XLProfessor
3h Replying to
@ABC @Harvard_Law @Harvard @Harvard_Law should immediately denounce Alan Dershowtiz and rescind his Emeritus statusThis ahistorical and legally indefensible argument is being offered solely as partisan cover and is an embarrassment to
@harvard and the academic legal community
twitter.com/ABC/status/122'... View conversation · XLProfessor @ XLProfessor
3h Replying to
@ABC @Harvard_Law @Harvard If a president assassinated a foreign leader to help his reelection campaign, because he believed his reelection was good for the country, and as long as he provided a prima facie rationale otherwise...Hey, wait a minute...
twitter.com/XLProfessor/st'... View conversation · Brendan "Bernie's record is a cop" McIntyre 🌎ðŸŒðŸ¥ @ osuphantom
3h Replying to
@ABC So they are admitting he did it for selfish purposes; his political career is now the public interest. This is what dictators think
View conversation · Mark Keogh @ MarkrKeogh
2h Replying to
@osuphantom @ABC "L'(C)tat, c'est moi"- King Louis XIVAnd we wondered why his interiors look like this?
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VIDEO-Doctor Previously Infected With Coronavirus Explains Details Surrounding Pandemic
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 15:32
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VIDEO-Biden Says There's a Good Chance He Would Die in Office, Says His VP Must Be Ready :: Grabien News
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:25
'I'm an old guy'Democrats's leading 2020 candidate is warning voters he might die in office.
Former Vice President Biden offered the startling admission during a campaign appearance Tuesday in Clinton, Iowa.
"I can think of at least 8 women, at least 4 or 5 people of color that I think are totally qualified to be vice president of the United States,'' Biden said. ''But for me, it has to be demonstrated that whomever I pick, there's two things: One he's capable of being a president, because I'm an old guy."
''No, I'm serious,'' he emphasized, before emphasizing that he's actually in good shape and that ''I work out every morning.''
As for who the ''people of color'' are who Biden might look to as a possible vice president, Biden floated Michelle Obama.
But that wouldn't be the only member of the Obama family he would try to elevate. Biden additionally suggested he'd try to put former President Obama on the Supreme Court.
During a question-and-answer session at the same campaign stop, Biden said ''I sure would like Michelle to be the vice president. ''
He said he would like putting Barack Obama on the Supreme Court, but ''I don't think he'd do it.'' [Video]
RELATED:
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VIDEO-Nigel Farage's dramatic final speech at the European Parliament ahead of the Brexit vote - YouTube
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:18
VIDEO - Alan He on Twitter: "ERNST: "IA caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Demcaucus goers. Will they be supporting VP Biden at this point?
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:45
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VIDEO - Kobe Bryant helicopter accident flight path re-creation - YouTube
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:41
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton believes she could win if she ran again in 2020 and renews attack on Bernie Sanders | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 09:07
Hillary Clinton has returned to the political stage at the Sundance film festival and says she believes she could beat Donald Trump if she were to run again in November.
In a wide-ranging interview with Variety about her new Hulu docu-series she was asked if she felt the urge to beat the president.
'Yeah. I certainly feel the urge because I feel the 2016 election was a really odd time and an odd outcome,' Clinton replied.
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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes she could win against President Donald Trump were she to run in November's election. She is pictured during an interview with Variety
'The more we learn, the more that seems to be the case. But I'm going to support the people who are running now and do everything I can to help elect the Democratic nominee.'
Clinton also addressed the blistering remarks she made about Bernie Sanders when she said 'nobody likes him' in the docu-series and said she was not addressing the election when she made the remarks.
'I think we did that interview about a year and a half ago. I wasn't thinking about the election by any means. I've said I'm going to support the nominee. But I do think it's important to look at somebody's record and look at what they've gotten done and see whether you agree with that or not. I think that's what every voter paying attention should do.'
In the clip from the Hulu series, which is due to be released on March 6, she says: 'Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician.
'It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.'
She said that she did not feel much support from Sanders after his own primary challenge failed in 2016 and encouraged voters to examine the Vermont senator's record.
She believes Trump's 'broken promises and the failed actions of this current administration' should ensure the Democrats have a path to victory
As she promotes the show, Clinton has managed to keep her focus on Trump, whose shock victory a little over three years ago cut short her seemingly unstoppable political ascent.
'I just think we have to win. I don't think we can afford another four years by the current incumbent,' Clinton said. 'I think that would be absolutely dangerous to our democracy, and I'll do whatever I can to make sure the Democrats win this time,' she continued.
'We have to be better than the other side, because they are highly organized and incredibly well funded, and they have foreign help,' she told reporters, vowing to work to defeat her Republican antagonist Donald Trump in November.
'We should win, because I think people can see the broken promises and the failed actions of this current administration and so we should win, but we're gonna have to overcome all of the obstacles they are throwing our way,' she said.
Clinton remarked during an interview for documentary, Bernie Sanders had been in Congress for years but 'nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done'.
Clinton has said she was not thinking about the 2020 Democratic primary or the effect on voters criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders. She is pictured here on the 2016 campaign trail
Hillary Clinton unloaded on Bernie Sanders in new documentary due out in March
Clinton, who beat Trump in the popular vote, favors the abolition of the Electoral College.
'The person who gets the most votes should win,' she said. 'The Electoral College is an anachronism that foils the rights of the majority of Americans to choose our leaders.'
Clinton also cited the role of social media platforms and, in particular, Facebook, in a potential repeat of Russian interference.
'The attacks on the fundamental right to vote and run our elections free from illegal, unconstitutional and certainly foreign interference is going to be even more sophisticated today than it was four years ago,' Clinton said.
But Clinton does think some things have changed in the last four years, especially for Trump.
Her interview indicates bitterness left from the 2016 campaign - the two are seen above on the campaign trail in 2015 - has not healed
'I think there's a story now to be told. Before he was a blank slate. He was a guy that people saw on their TVs. As you know, he was a reality TV star,' Clinton said. 'Now I think there´s a record that he´s going to have to be held accountable for.
Hillary, a documentary about the former Democratic standard bearer, was screened at the prestigious festival Saturday ahead of its world premier.
Clinton has said that 'nothing was off limits' with regards to the Hulu series and revealed she sat for around 35 hours of interviews for the series.
'The point of the documentary is what a polarizing figure Secretary Clinton is,' Nanette Burstein, who directed the film told AFP.
Hillary Clinton is pictured with Nanette Burstein, the director of Hillary - a look into the former Secretary of State's life and her bid for the presidency in 2016
'She is both admired and vilified, and the whole top line of it is to break that down. So I had no illusions that in the reaction to this piece, it would be the same thing,' she said.
The Hillary project began as a behind-the-scenes look at the candidate's 2016 campaign, relying on some 1,700 hours of footage taken by Burstein's team.
But as it progressed, the documentary's producers changed tack.
'They came back and they said, 'You know, there's a bigger story here, and we want to tell your life, and we want to talk about the arc of women's lives and politics,' Clinton said.
'I said, 'Sure, let's do it.''
'I figured, let's tell our story, because we've got to do more to get people to understand what's going on in our country and the world, and if this can contribute to that, I'll be very happy,' she said.
The documentary examines how Clinton became at once one of the most admired and vilified women in the world. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are pictured
The four hour film is said to be a remarkably intimate portrait of a public woman revealing moments from never-before-seen 2016 campaign footage with biographical chapters of her life. She is pictured here together with daughter Chelsea Clinton
VIDEO -3m45- Senator Schumer Reacts to Senate Impeachment Trial | C-SPAN.org
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:36
January 28, 2020 2020-01-28T21:57:11-05:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/c4b/20200128215821002_hd.jpg After the Senate Impeachment Trial finished for the day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stopped by to speak with the press on Capitol Hill. Sen. Schumer said that if the president is not held accountable, ''then this grand experiment we call democracy will be fatally, fatally eroded.''After the Senate Impeachment Trial finished for the day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stopped by to speak with the press on Capitol'... read more
After the Senate Impeachment Trial finished for the day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stopped by to speak with the press on Capitol Hill. Sen. Schumer said that if the president is not held accountable, ''then this grand experiment we call democracy will be fatally, fatally eroded.'' close
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Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:33
VIDEO-Don Lemon addresses CNN panel mocking Trump voters | Fox News
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 06:52
CNN panel mocks Trump supportersTrump hits back after ex-GOP strategist Rick Wilson mocks the 'credulous boomer rube demo' that supports the president; reaction on 'The Five.'
CNN anchor Don Lemon appeared to be on the defensive on Tuesday night after a panel discussion mocking Trump supporters went viral.
"This is personally important for me to address this, OK? Ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you- I don't believe in belittling people, belittling anyone for who they are, what they believe, or where they're from," Lemon said towards the top of his show. "During an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh. And while in the moment, I found that joke humorous. And I didn't catch everything that was said."
The anti-Trump anchor added, "Just to make it perfectly clear, I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people."
It is unclear what specific joke Lemon was referring to. The first joke was at the expense of President Trump while the rest of the jokes were at the expense of his supporters.
CNN'S VIRAL VIDEO MOCKING TRUMP SUPPORTERS RACKS UP MILLIONS MORE VIEWERS THAN ORIGINAL AIRING
Later on during a panel discussion about the dustup between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an NPR reporter, Lemon when on to defend journalists who "get it wrong."
"We're not perfect. When we get it wrong, we say we got it wrong, we apologize, and we move on," Lemon said.
On Monday night, a panel discussion went viral and faced intense backlash for mocking Trump supporters as "credulous boomer rubes," even sparking fierce condemnation from Trump and his presidential campaign.
The panel, which originally aired on Saturday night during special live coverage of the impeachment trial, featured Lemon, New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali, and ex-GOP strategist Rick Wilson discussing the heated exchange Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had with an NPR reporter, where he allegedly challenged the journalist to point out Ukraine on a blank map.
Wilson used the topic to mock President Trump as well as his supporters.
"[Pompeo] also knows deep within his heart that Donald Trump couldn't find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it," Wilson began, causing Lemon to chuckle. "He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world. And so that's partly him playing to the base and playing to their audience. You know, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump."
DON LEMON'S ASSAULT ACCUSER SAYS CNN ANCHOR A 'LIAR AND HYPOCRITE' WITH #METOO COVERAGE
As Lemon began crying with tears of laughter, Wilson went on to depict what he thought a typical Trump supporter sounded like.
"'Donald Trump's the smart one- any y'all elitists are dumb!'" Wilson said with a heavy southern accent.
"'You elitists with your geography and your maps- and your spelling!'" Ali chimed in during the mockery.
"'Your math and your reading!'" Wilson added. "'All those lines on the map!'"
The CNN anchor almost lost his breath from laughing, wiping tears from his eyes with a tissue.
"That was good," Lemon reacted. "That was a good one. I needed that."
TWITTER'S COMFORTABLY SMUG UNVEILS 'LIBERAL HACK TOURNAMENT' FEATURING CNN, MSNBC HOSTS
The clip went viral on Monday night, sparking widespread condemnation. Trump knocked Lemon, who he called "the dumbest man on television" as well as his "terrible ratings."
During the 10 p.m. hour on Saturday, which was when Lemon had his laughing fit, CNN averaged only 713,000 viewers. As of Tuesday evening, the clip had 11 million views on Twitter.
Others on social media mocked CNN as they pointed out the viewership difference between the network and the viral clip.
"The most telling thing about the Don Lemon segment is no one commented on it when it aired. No one watched it," conservative commentator Stephen Miller tweeted.
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"Underrated hilarious aspect of this is that it took 2 full days for anyone to notice. And it got more attention being tweeted from an account with 20k followers than it did when it aired on CNN," another Twitter user pointed out.
VIDEO-Journalist Glenn Greenwald On Cybercrime Accusations In Brazil : NPR
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 06:42
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Brazil filed charges Tuesday against Glenn Greenwald. He's a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist who lives there and a prominent critic of President Jair Bolsonaro's right-wing government. Prosecutors say Greenwald helped hack the cellphones of Brazilian officials. Greenwald used messages from those phones as evidence of collusion between a judge and the prosecutors who jailed former left-wing President Inacio Lula da Silva. His reports appeared in The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil, which he co-founded. And he joins us now via Skype.
Thanks for speaking with us.
GLENN GREENWALD: Thank you for having me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So the judge in that case is now the justice minister. So this reporting that The Intercept did has had huge political effect in Brazil. But the federal police have already investigated your involvement with the leaked messages, and they found absolutely no wrongdoing. Why do you feel the prosecutors are pursuing these charges now?
GREENWALD: I think that's the key point. The federal police, which is actually under the command of Sergio Moro, the justice minister who's the prime subject of our exposes, conducted a comprehensive investigation and found that I had no involvement of any kind in the hack, principally because the first time the source talked to me, he had in his possession all the information that he gave to me, making it logically impossible for me to have been involved.
This particular prosecutor who nonetheless brought these charges is notorious for abusing his office. But I think it's just part of a broader campaign of the Bolsonaro government, which doesn't believe in a free press and wants to create a climate of fear for any dissidents or anyone who opposes him in any way.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Your Pulitzer was for reporting that you did based on information leaked by Edward Snowden. So you've handled leaked documents before, as have many other members of the press. Did the precautions you took with the Brazilian information differ in any way from the ones you took with the Snowden information?
GREENWALD: Not really. Interestingly, in both cases, by the time the source first contacted me, they each had all the information in their possession. Edward Snowden did sort of this source. But obviously, the first thing I did when I was contacted by the source was sit down with our team of Brazilian lawyers to try and understand the similarities and differences between Brazilian law on the one hand and American and British on the other, which I was very familiar from my work as a lawyer but also the Snowden case.
And in reality, the Brazilian Constitution provides press freedom protections even more robust than the U.S. Constitution does. It has a guarantee that journalists have the right to protect the anonymity of our sources, for example.
But the lawyers said the key point is you can never direct or suggest to the source that they get any additional information from you using criminality. And of course, I never did that. Not even the prosecutor claims I did. And my lawyers said - and all press freedom groups in Brazil are saying - that as long as you don't do that and just receive the information, you're acting as a journalist, and you have the right of a free press not to be punished for it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You and your husband, as well as your children, all live in Brazil. You also work out of there as a journalist. Do you fear retaliation from the Bolsonaro government? I mean, what do you fear the ramifications will be of this?
GREENWALD: Well, the president of the country, Jair Bolsonaro, has explicitly threatened me with prison on multiple occasions, using my name during the course of the eight months of reporting. Neither my husband, who's a congressman in Brazil, nor I have left our house without armed security and armored vehicles because of the death threats we've received from the Bolsonaro movement. It's a movement that explicitly seeks the restoration of the military dictatorship, or at least the repression that accompany that as opposed to democracy. So it uses extrajudicial and extralegal means of intimidation, like death threats and fake news and invasions into your private life, but then also abuses the law.
I don't have proof that President Bolsonaro was involved in this particular decision to charge me, but he certainly has publicly said multiple times that I may spend time in prison or that I should spend time in prison. So certainly, retaliation was always a possibility, and it's now become a reality.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you think you can remain in Brazil? Would you consider leaving?
GREENWALD: I definitely would not consider leaving. Our lives are here. I've lived here for 15 years. We have two Brazilian children. And you know, if you go into journalism, I think your obligation is to confront people in power when they engage in corrupt or deceitful acts, and that often entails danger. This is a country I love and that has given me a lot. A lot of people have given their liberty or their lives to usher in Brazilian democracy, and I feel an obligation to them and just to my own values and my own profession not to flee Brazil, but to stay and defend democratic values that are under attack.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Glenn Greenwald, co-founder and editor of The Intercept. Thank you very much.
GREENWALD: Thank you - really appreciate it.
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VIDEO-BIDEN GETS TOUGH: Trump 'going to understand what punches mean' - The American MirrorThe American Mirror
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:51
Joe Biden took another swing at President Trump on Monday with tough talk at a stop in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where his backers sat emotionless during his monotone, lifeless spiel.
>>
Biden and his supporters closed their eyes in the quiet moderately sized conference room as the former vice president droned about his feud with Trump and promises to knock him out of the White House.
''So folks, um, but you know as much as he's trying to destroy me and my family,'' Biden said, ''I hope I've demonstrated I can take a punch, and if I'm one nominee he's going to understand what punches mean.''
The response from the crowd was silence.
Biden followed up the threat to retaliate with a peculiar proclamation.
''Ladies and gentlemen, you know, look, presidents can't hold grudges,'' he said. ''And it isn't about me, what's going on here. It's all about you.''
In reality, it was all about Trump.
''Donald Trump believes the only way he can win is by continuing to divide the country,'' Biden alleged. ''As he came down that escalator as he announced his candidacy, he said, 'I'm running to get rid of those Mexican rapists.' He talks about way, no, bans on Muslim and additional nations. It just goes down the line. He's just ripping us apart.''
Biden conflated legitimate questions about his son Hunter's shady business arrangements in Ukraine, China and elsewhere with personal attacks on his family, and likened those attacks to an alleged Trump assault on America. Biden has refused to answer unscripted questions about Hunter Biden or virtually anything else in recent weeks, relying instead on prepared soundbites.
''Let's remember one thing, why the man's on trial'...because he's afraid to run against me.''''@JoeBiden on impeachment pic.twitter.com/Q5I2hxPu9p
'-- Florida Chris (@chrislongview) January 27, 2020
At the Cedar Falls event, Biden ignored numerous questions from a gaggle of reporters as he arrived outside of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, but stopped briefly to offer up a one-liner and peel off his shades, CSI: Miami-style.
''Let's remember one thing,'' Biden said as reporters shoved microphones and smart phones in his face, ''why the man's on trial, only the second guy, because he's afraid to run against me.''
Biden relived the encounter for folks inside, where he raised his eyebrows and leaned in close to the crowd for dramatic effect.
The charade solicited no response.
While Biden's subdued Cedar Rapids talk did receive some applause and a few laughs at the 77-year-old's hokey jokes, the overall tone more resembled a funeral service than a campaign event.
And while Biden lulled supporters to sleep, it was a much different situation outside of the Wildwood Convention Center in the Democratic stronghold of New Jersey, where thousands of Trump supporters braved 40-degree temperatures to camp out two days ahead of his sold-out rally.
MIDNIGHT and 40 degrees
In Wildwood, NEW JERSEY
Nearly 24 HOURS BEFORE the @realDonaldTrump rally
And look at all these patriots chanting 4 more years!
Via '...@AbateMedia'(C) '¬‡¸ pic.twitter.com/0vzTY0oT9s
'-- Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) January 28, 2020
Video outside at midnight showed MAGA warriors enthusiastically chanting ''four more years'' as they jumped up and down, whooping and hollering.
''The line had grown to more than 2,500 by 9 a.m. Only about 7,500 people are expected to be admitted inside this afternoon for the 7 p.m. event,'' NJ.com reports.
''This is historic,'' Karen Swann told the news site. ''Even if you do not support Trump, this is a historical event. But I am a Trump fan, so this is awesome. I appreciate everything he has done for us.''
Event organizers set up massive screens in the venue's parking lot and at a park across the street to accommodate the thousands of supporters who won't make it inside. Many flew and drove from across the country days ahead of the event to secure their spots, including Michigan's Saundra Kiczenski.
Kiczenski said ''it was really cold'' sleeping on the ground outside the convention center Monday, but it will be worth it tonight.
''He's not a politician,'' she told NJ.com. ''He says what he thinks right out loud. He's kept more promises than he has made.''
VIDEO-Blood Money: How Qatar Bought off the D.C. Media Establishment - YouTube
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:50
VIDEO-Al Jazeera News: "LIVE: White House senior adviser Kushner speaks to Al Jazeera"
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:47
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VIDEO-Aaron Rupar on Twitter: "Fox News cut away from Trump's rally immediately after his brain short-circuited https://t.co/0jgKzVLb9E" / Twitter
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:03
Trump commends the fist-fighting skills of ICE agents: "They'll go right into a pack -- and they call it pack -- and they start swinging, everyone's swinging, and they end up standing up. That's the end of that."
pic.twitter.com/QcWhCGNxKv View conversation · Trump, making stuff up, claims Mexico is paying for his border wall: "Mexico is in fact, soon you will find out, paying for the wall ... no, the wall is ultimately, and very nicely, being paid for by Mexico."
pic.twitter.com/pDnBwEKHk4 View conversation · Trump claims "sometime prior to the end of the year we will have a new middle-income tax cut." (He pushed the same fake tax cuts in lead up to midterms)Then he says: "We are protecting people with preexisting conditions." (Trumpcare would've stripped coverage from 20m people)
pic.twitter.com/gOsMdBzieS View conversation · Trump wraps up his rally in Wildwood, New Jersey -- his first that took place during his impeachment trial, and one that (perhaps not coincidentally) was relatively short and toned down by his standards. He rarely strayed from his prepared remarks and barely mentioned impeachment
pic.twitter.com/lx0SsrAuwy View conversation ·
VIDEO - (193) Chamberlain Heights Cartoon Predicts Kobe Bryant's Helicopter Death - YouTube
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 20:30
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VIDEO - Engineer urges Amazon to shut down Ring doorbells, cameras 'immediately' - YouTube
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:39
VIDEO - Hillary Clinton admits having 'urge' to run in 2020 - YouTube
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 11:41
VIDEO -5m40 Download It´s Our Money with Ellen Brown - It's Our Money with Ellen Brown - Another Look Behind the Curtain | Podbean
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 08:58
Two recent developments provide another look at how powerful monetary interests play their game. One is the CIA-driven coup to unseat Venezuela's legitimate government in order to take control of that rich nation's assets, and the other is a ''Laundromat''-styled offshore scam by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase to capture energy markets. Our guests are attorney-activist Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance, who is facing threat of jail time for actions defending the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, and Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen, whose recent research exposed 61 fake off-shore companies set-up by Goldman Sachs to circumvent regulators.
VIDEO-Steve Krakauer on Twitter: "The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents. If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I'll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:44
Log in Sign up Steve Krakauer @ SteveKrak The arrogance, the dismissiveness, the smug cackling, the accents.If Donald Trump wins re-election this year, I'll remember this brief CNN segment late one Saturday night in January as the perfect encapsulation for why it happened.
pic.twitter.com/8kQ6zN9AZV 6:47 PM - 27 Jan 2020 Twitter by: Steve Krakauer @SteveKrak Steve Krakauer @ SteveKrak
3h Replying to
@FourthWatch Will be writing more about this segment in my
@FourthWatch newsletter tomorrow. If you don't subscribe, you can do so here:
thefirsttv.com/fourthwatch/ View conversation · Clara @ claramanoucheka
3h Replying to
@SteveKrak @mistrmeh_ca and
6 others @mistrmeh_ca @pipandbaby @PolitiBunny @doomdumas @JesseKellyDC @heckyessica @Simonlevrai007 I am no Trump fan, but I respect his base. This was just mean
View conversation · The 🐰 FOO @ PolitiBunny
3h Replying to
@claramanoucheka @SteveKrak and
6 others What a bunch of assholes. Wow.
View conversation · TW @ rtworkman
3h Replying to
@SteveKrak Unlike some super smart elite people, Trump was able to find Wisconsin on the map.....sooooooo
View conversation · Nature Lover '®¸ðŸ'Ÿ @ NatureL92454381
2h Replying to
@rtworkman @SteveKrak GOOD ONE!!!
View conversation · Sure Jan ðŸðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ @ Rosebudd40
3h Replying to
@SteveKrak @POTUS To be fair, more people are probably seeing it second hand here on Twitter.
@POTUS should include this clip in campaign ads.
View conversation · SatiristPod @ SatiristPod
3h Replying to
@SteveKrak Every time I consider just not voting for President, I see something like this and become energized. I will walk across coals to vote Trump now.
View conversation · Dareatha Tatum @ DareathaT
3h Replying to
@SteveKrak This is how we win, because they are this dismissive, because they underestimate the working force of America. They are encapsulated in a bubble of their own smuggness, with their heads so far up their own a#$ they will be crying and surprised again in 2020.
View conversation · Kent Williams '''¸ðŸŒ @ KWnFX
3h Replying to
@SteveKrak OMG! This was funny!!! 🤣🤣🤣 Lighten up!
View conversation · OxtailBlueQ @ OxtailQ
2h Replying to
@KWnFX @SteveKrak Its a wonder why their ratings don't reflect that.
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VIDEO-Shane Hawk on Twitter: "Don Lemon: ''I know it's preposterous, but is it really preposterous, you think, Mary?'' Mary: ''A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it's not that.'' #donlemon #cnn #itm @adamcurry https:/
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:43
Don Lemon: ''I know it's preposterous, but is it really preposterous, you think, Mary?''Mary: ''A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it's not that.''
#donlemon #cnn #itm@adamcurry pic.twitter.com/X8CKdUvLc1 10:28 PM - 27 Jan 2020 The following media may contain sensitive material. Learn more.
VIDEO - Greta Thunberg Incorporated: The Expos(C) - YouTube
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:39
VIDEO -20m8sec 'ŽVerdict with Ted Cruz: Ep. 2 - Republicans' Secret Impeachment Weapon on Apple Podcasts
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:21
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Senator Cruz breaks down the arguments on impeachment and reveals Republicans' secret weapon.
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VIDEO - 'Oh my God, Sanders can win': Democrats grapple with Bernie surge in Iowa
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:01
DES MOINES, Iowa '-- The greatest trick Bernie Sanders ever played was convincing the world the chance he could win didn't exist.
The independent senator from Vermont has been running for president for the better part of five years, but some Democrats are only just now, a week out from the first contest in the 2020 presidential primary season, beginning to come to grips with the fact that he could actually win the nomination.
''Suddenly, we have the Democratic establishment very nervous about this campaign. We got Wall Street nervous,'' Sanders told a crowd of roughly 1,100 Sunday night in Sioux City. ''They're starting to think, could this really happen?''
''We are their worst nightmare,'' he added.
Next Monday's caucuses remain a toss-up, according to the polls. But Sanders has taken the lead in several recent surveys of Iowa and New Hampshire and continues to be the field's best fundraiser '-- without having faced the same intensity of incoming fire as some other candidates, like fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren.
A Sanders win would turn the Democratic Party upside down, much as Donald Trump's victory did for the GOP in 2016. But how could virtually no one see Sanders coming when he nearly overturned the party establishment four years ago when he came within a whisker of winning Iowa?
''They've always wanted to discount or dismiss him, but they do so at their own peril,'' Hugh Espey, executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which first brought Sanders to Iowa in 2014. ''It's staring them right in the race.''
For most of the 2020 primary, everyone from Wall Street to K Street viewed Warren, a Massachusetts senator, as the more formidable contender, leading to a storm of scrutiny when she was surging in the polls last year.
Given Sanders' lackluster poll numbers then, moderate Democrats and Republicans often built him up to use as a cudgel against Warren, especially when she was struggling to explain how she'd pay for "Medicare for All."
''At least Bernie's being honest here," Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said at the Democratic primary debate in October, while joining others on stage in criticizing Warren.
Billionaires like former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and investor Leon Cooperman also trained their fire primarily on Warren, not Sanders, presumably assuming, like so many others, that Sanders' time had passed and that he would soon hand off the baton of the progressive movement he started to Warren.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
"None of his opponents have attacked him," said Ian Sams, a Democratic operative who has now gone two rounds against Sanders '-- as a campaign aide to Clinton in the last election, and to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in this one. "There had been a supposition all last year from media and the political class that there's no way Bernie way could win, which was a pretty faulty assumption."
The attacks worked to weaken Warren, but left Sanders relatively unscathed.
Now, some moderate Democrats feel the need to sound the alarm and try to wake supporters up to the fact that Sanders is not a mere protest candidate, but a real threat to win the nomination and, they argue, potentially cost Democrats the election against Trump.
''Bernie Sanders could be the nominee of our party,'' Pete Buttigieg's campaign alerted supporters in an email. ''Bernie's campaign is out-raising and out-spending us. If this continues, there's a good chance he wins the Iowa caucuses.''
The tone of the warning, which was repeated in a second email and follow-up text message to supporters, was jarring in a campaign where candidates have rarely gone after each other by name.
Asked by NBC News if he was worried that Democrats were underestimating Sanders' appeal, Buttigieg said, ''It's a terrible mistake to not take any candidate seriously.''
Klobuchar suggested that nominating Sanders could hurt down-ballot Democrats. ''I do not come from a state that is as blue as Vermont,'' she told reporters in Ames. ''I have been able to get those votes and bring them in. And so I think a lot of people have talking points about how they can do this. I actually have the receipts.''
Matt Bennett, the vice president of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way, which has agitated against Sanders and his philosophy for years, said many political insiders have a Sanders-size ''blind spot.''
''We issued a warning a year ago that Sanders could win the nomination and would likely lose to Trump. And we've been the only ones really taking the fight to him,'' Bennett said.
''It's past time for other Democrats to come off the sidelines and for the media to start doing its job to vet a serious contender for the nomination,'' he added. ''We simply can't stand by while there's a threat that Democrats could nominate a guy who would hand such nuclear-level ammunition to the Trump campaign.''
Voters at events for moderate candidates this weekend expressed concern about Sanders' potential nomination, though all said they would vote for him in the general election.
''It's going to be hard for him to pull in people in the middle,'' Todd Darson, who is deciding between Biden and Buttigieg, said of Sanders. ''That's what scares me the most.'
Anything could happen in the Feb. 3 caucuses, and Iowa Democratic insiders say it's just as likely that former Vice President Joe Biden could win the caucuses and then quickly consolidate the nomination as it is likely that Sanders could win Iowa.
But Sanders, on a whirlwind tour of Iowa this weekend during a break from his jury duty in the Senate's impeachment trial, relished the fear that he said he has been striking in his enemies.
''They're looking at recent polls in New Hampshire and in Iowa, and they're saying, 'Oh my God, Sanders can win!''' the senator told a packed auditorium in Ames.
Sanders' allies say the political and media elites miss his strength because they have a blind spot for candidates whose message is aimed at working-class voters, including Sanders, but also Biden, whose durability has surprised many, and President Donald Trump.
''The establishment has underestimated him because the Beltway fails to grasp how much support there is for the principle that every American should have basic health care, basic education and the opportunity for a good paying job,'' Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a co-chair of Sanders' campaign, told NBC News.
So far, a ''Stop Sanders'' effort has not emerged, but one still could '-- and Sanders allies say they now have a target on their backs.
''Things are going to get crazy,'' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has endorsed Sanders and become one of his top surrogates, told volunteers at a field office opening in Ankeny, Iowa.
Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, who joined Sanders as a warm-up act on his most recent Iowa swing, told supporters in Ames that ''the rich'' are going to start panicking.
''The knives are out,'' Moore said.
VIDEO - Kobe Bryant death: NTSB and authorities provide update on helicopter crash - YouTube
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:41
VIDEO - DC Basement >> 🍊🍠>> 🐠on Twitter: ".@THErealDVORAK @adamcurry clip, these reporters... lol **wait for it** REPORTER: Hunter Biden got a job because his dad was VP. If that's a crime, shouldn't half your children be in jail? ðŸ'¥ðŸ¥ƒð
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:03
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VIDEO-RPT-With Wuhan virus genetic code in hand, scientists begin work on a vaccine
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:15
(Repeats for wider audience with no changes to text or headline)
By Julie Steenhuysen and Kate Kelland
CHICAGO/LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - When a newly organised vaccine research group at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) met for the first time this week, its members had expected to be able to ease into their work.
But their mandate is to conduct human trials for emerging health threats - and their first assignment came at shocking speed.
In just three months time, they likely will be testing the first of a number of potential experimental vaccines against the new SARS-like coronavirus that is spreading in China and beyond.
"I told them, 'you are going to have your baptism of fire, folks'," Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within NIH, said of his inaugural address to the group this week.
Three months from gene sequence to initial human testing would be the fastest the agency has ever gotten such a vaccine off the ground, Fauci said.
The outbreak, which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, as of Friday had infected more than 800 people in China and killed 26. Cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal and the United States.
Chinese scientists were able to quickly identify the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus and officials posted it publicly within a few days, allowing scientific research teams to get to work right away.
With the genetic code in hand, scientists can start vaccine development work without needing a sample of the virus.
During the deadly 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, it took U.S. scientists 20 months to go from genetic sequence to the first phase of human trials. By that time, the outbreak was under control.
This time, research groups worldwide are already executing plans to test vaccines, treatments and other countermeasures to stop the newly identified virus from spreading globally.
MULTI-PRONGED APPROACH
They are attacking from several angles, with global health and epidemic response agencies hoping at least one treatment will be in human trials within a few months.
Fauci's agency is partnering with U.S. biotech Moderna Inc , which specializes in vaccines based on ribonucleic acid (RNA) - a chemical messenger that contains instructions for making proteins.
That team hopes to make an RNA vaccine based on one of the crown-like spikes on the surface of the coronavirus that gives the family of viruses their name, an approach that, unlike many vaccines, would not expose people to the virus.
At the University of Queensland in Australia, scientists backed by the global health emergency group the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said they are working on what they describe as a "molecular clamp" vaccine approach.
The technology adds a gene to viral proteins to stabilize them and trick the body into thinking it is seeing a live virus and create antibodies against it.
Keith Chappell, an expert in the University's school of chemistry and molecular biosciences, said the technology is designed as "a platform approach to generate vaccines against a range of human and animal viruses."
It has already shown promising results in lab tests on other dangerous viruses such as Ebola and the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)- a cousin of SARS and the Wuhan virus.
Novavax, which already has a vaccine in development against MERS, says it is now working on one for the Wuhan coronavirus.
Scientists also are turning to infection-fighting proteins known as monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, that were developed against the SARS and MERS coronaviruses.
The hope is that similarities with the Wuhan virus will offer enough overlap in the antibodies to help people infected in the China outbreak.
Vir Biotechnology Chief Scientific Officer Herbert Virgin said his company has a library of monoclonal antibodies that have shown some success against SARS and MERS in lab tests.
Some of these antibodies have been shown to neutralize coronaviruses, Virgin said, and "may have the potential to treat and prevent (the) Wuhan coronavirus." (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago and Kate Kelland in London Editing by Bill Berkrot)
VIDEO - Ronna McDaniel on Twitter: "Can you be a pro-life Democrat? The Democrat Party has made clear that unless you agree with them 100% of the time, you are not welcome. The intolerance on the left knows no bounds. https://t.co/abubkeA2OE" / Twitter
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:52
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VIDEO-Chinese researcher removed from Canada's only level-4 lab - YouTube
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:39
VIDEO -21m30- Cristos Goodrow: YouTube Algorithm | MIT | Artificial Intelligence Podcast
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:55
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | Spotify | RSS
Cristos Goodrow is VP of Engineering at Google and head of Search and Discovery at YouTube (aka YouTube Algorithm).
This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. If you would like to get more information about this podcast go to https://lexfridman.com/ai or connect with @lexfridman on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Medium, or YouTube where you can watch the video versions of these conversations. If you enjoy the podcast, please rate it 5 stars on Apple Podcasts, follow on Spotify, or support it on Patreon.
This episode is presented by Cash App. Download it (App Store, Google Play), use code ''LexPodcast''.
Here's the outline of the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time.
00:00 '' Introduction
03:26 '' Life-long trajectory through YouTube
07:30 '' Discovering new ideas on YouTube
13:33 '' Managing healthy conversation
23:02 '' YouTube Algorithm
38:00 '' Analyzing the content of video itself
44:38 '' Clickbait thumbnails and titles
47:50 '' Feeling like I'm helping the YouTube algorithm get smarter
50:14 '' Personalization
51:44 '' What does success look like for the algorithm?
54:32 '' Effect of YouTube on society
57:24 '' Creators
59:33 '' Burnout
1:03:27 '' YouTube algorithm: heuristics, machine learning, human behavior
1:08:36 '' How to make a viral video?
1:10:27 '' Veritasium: Why Are 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir?
1:13:20 '' Making clips from long-form podcasts
1:18:07 '' Moment-by-moment signal of viewer interest
1:20:04 '' Why is video understanding such a difficult AI problem?
1:21:54 '' Self-supervised learning on video
1:25:44 '' What does YouTube look like 10, 20, 30 years from now?
VIDEO - MSNBC calls team ''Los Angeles Niggers'' during live broadcast about Kobe Bryant's death - YouTube
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:45
VIDEO -4m55- The Angelic Initiative, Episode 1122 - Deadline Dead Ahead - YouTube
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:41
VIDEO - Liveleak.com - Canadian Espionage Of Coronavirus Revealed!!
Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:33
Added:21 hours ago
By: DrTyrminus (18.90)
Tags: coronavirus, wuhan virus, cdc, cfr, council on foreign relations, Must See, news & politics,
Location: Canada
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VIDEO-Aangirfan: EPSTEIN, PAULA WHITE, ANDREW, PALESTINE, PUTIN, BBC, CORONAVIRUS, IRAN, IRAQ
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 23:10
....They all knew....‘When I walk on White House grounds, God walks on White House grounds.’ - Paula White, spiritual adviser to President Trump and the latest addition to the White House staff. "The Prince of Wales said today that it broke his heart to see the suffering of the Palestinian people, in the strongest ever message of support from a member of the royal family."Prince Charles offers strong message of support for Palestinians in Bethlehem.The Prince of Wales said today that it broke his heart to see the suffering of the Palestinian people, in the strongest ever message of support from a member of the royal family.  - thetimes.co.ukMaurice Pinay @MauricePinayHow Putin's Man Made His Way to the Top of European JewryViatcheslav Moshe Kantor - Wikipedia .Kantor is a trustee and Life President of the Anna Freud Centre (London, UK).[22][23]How Putin's man made his way to the top of European Jewryhaaretz.com Two top Jews, the former BBC chairman Michael Grade and the former BBC director of television Danny Cohen, have criticised an 'unjustifiably offensive' report by BBC News at Ten.In the report, Orla Guerin, the BBC’s international correspondent, appeared to link Israel's treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust.Former BBC executives criticise Orla Guerin's Holocaust report "In October 2003, Tong Zeng, a Chinese lawyer and a volunteer in a 1998 Chinese-American medical cooperation program, published a book [16] that speculated that SARS could be a biological weapon developed by the United States against China. "In the book, Tong disclosed that in the 1990s, many American research groups collected thousands of blood and DNA samples and specimens of mainland Chinese (including 5,000 DNA samples from twins) through numerous joint research projects carried out in China. "These samples were then sent back to the United States for further research, and could be used in developing biological weapons targeting Chinese. "These samples came from 22 provinces in China, all of which were hit by SARS in 2003. "Only provinces like Yunnan, Guizhou, Hainan, Tibet, and Xinjiang were left out, and all these provinces suffered less severely during the SARS outbreak." ~~Beyond the China coronavirus: the deadly diseases Asia has beaten before .~~REALITY CHECK: Coronavirus fear porn – OffGuardian ~~It was a multibillion bonanza for Big Pharma supported by the WHO’s Director-General Margaret Chan. Remember the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic ... ... Paula White, it is claimed, converted Trump to Christianity."Paula White is a charlatan," read a recent tweet from Russell Moore, a prominent Southern Baptist leader.Donald Trump's God whisperer.White's stepfather was stationed at the National Naval Medical Center.White has said that she was sexually and physically abused between the ages of six and thirteen, by different people on different occasions.[4][5][6]White has ministered to Michael Jackson as well as Donald Trump.... White preaches that God rewards the faithful with material wealth.In 2007, United States senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa announced an investigation of White's ministry by the United States Senate Committee on Finance.White's church provided its leaders with private planes and multimillion-dollar homes. White is on her third marriage and there have been rumours of affairs.White and televangelist Benny Hinn were pictured leaving a hotel in Rome holding hands....
VIDEO-MxAdamson on Twitter: "@rumchampion @ComfortablySmug @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK" / Twitter
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:15
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VIDEO-Queen - Don't Stop Me Now (Donald Trump Cover) - YouTube
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 15:13
STORIES
Kobe helicopter crash: Company pushes system that Bryant's lacked
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:37
January 30, 2020 | 8:09am
The manufacturer of the helicopter on which Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others lost their lives in a crash is pushing customers of the model to add a warning system that the doomed aircraft lacked, according to a report.
The ill-fated Sikorsky S-76B wasn't equipped with the Terrain Awareness and Warning System, or TAWS, which could have provided an audible warning to the pilot if the chopper was in danger of hitting the ground.
It is required in medical helicopters but not in commercial ones like the one used by Bryant.
Sources familiar with Sikorsky told TMZ that the company has been reaching out to customers of S-76 models not carrying the safety system and urging them to get them installed.
The company told the news outlet that TAWS and a black box have been standard features since the introduction of the S-76D in 2012. The helicopter involved in Sunday's crash was built in 1991.
In 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended installing the system on all turbine-powered choppers with six or more passenger seats after a similar aircraft '-- a Sikorsky S-76A carrying workers to an offshore drilling ship '-- crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, killing all 10 people aboard.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration questioned the value of such technology on helicopters, which tend to fly close to buildings and the ground and could trigger too many alarms.
Investigators examine the wreckage from Sunday's crash NTSB/JAMES ANDERSON HANDOUT/EPA-The FAA eventually instituted the requirement 10 years later, but only for air ambulances and other medical helicopters. The NTSB objected to what it called the FAA's ''unacceptable response,'' but dropped the matter.
Ara Zobayan, the pilot in Sunday's crash, had been climbing out of the clouds when the chartered helicopter went into a sudden 1,200-foot descent before slamming into a fog-shrouded hillside, investigators have said.
Bill English, investigator in charge of the NTSB's Major Investigations Division, said it was not clear yet whether ''TAWS and this scenario are related to each other.''
Intimacy Coordinator Standards & Protocols | SAG-AFTRA
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:32
SAG-AFTRA Unveils Landmark Industry Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators
LOS ANGELES (Jan. 29, 2020) '' SAG-AFTRA on Wednesday announced a major milestone in its ongoing work to promote the on-set safety and dignity of its members.
SAG-AFTRA's new ''Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators'' provides a framework for the use of professional, skilled intimacy coordinators '' professionals who help performers and productions navigate highly sensitive scenes that feature nudity and simulated sex ''throughout the entire production process. SAG-AFTRA believes that implementation of these standards and protocols will allow productions to run more efficiently, provide a safety net for performers and establish specialized support that empowers both cast and crew.
The standards and protocols were developed in collaboration with SAG-AFTRA member leaders and a community of experienced intimacy coordinators, including representatives from Intimacy Directors International and Intimacy Professionals Association.
''It has been powerful to collaborate with our industry partners as we work to standardize the protocols for industry coordinators. These protocols and guidelines will help to normalize and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators in productions therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work. Intimacy coordinators play a unique role by advocating for performers' safety and ensuring that a production's creative needs are met,'' said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
''These guidelines directly address the problem of sexual harassment on sets,'' said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White.
''This is a homerun for our members and the entire industry. Having Intimacy Coordinators on sets where simulated sex and other forms of intimacy are present, better protects SAG-AFTRA members and all other professionals involved in such scenes.
''These Standards and Protocols reflect input from the full community of Intimacy Coordinators working in the industry today. We are grateful for their input and for the feedback received already by industry allies and partners who have also worked with us, and who have expressed an eagerness for clarity around this important role. There is more work to be done by all of us in the industry, including standardized training and expanding the number of experienced professionals to serve in this role. These Standards and Protocols lay a solid foundation for this growth and for the continued, seismic change needed to eliminate the scourge of sexual harassment in our industry.''
''It is our hope that this process can be widely adopted for an effective and reasonable path for productions to work with a trained intimacy coordinator. With these protocols already field-tested by an ever-growing number of productions and studios, we believe we can make important and welcome industry changes,'' said Alicia Rodis, Associate Director and Co-Founder, Intimacy Directors International.
''I'm excited about the release of SAG-AFTRA's guidelines for intimacy coordination because I think it signals to the industry just how important it is to do what we can to make sets safer and to protect performers. Additionally, I think that these guidelines strike the right balance between describing the roles and responsibilities of intimacy coordinators while still allowing for flexibility from show-to-show so that the process can be customized to work with each unique production,'' said Amanda Blumenthal, founder of Intimacy Professionals Association.
For more than two years, SAG-AFTRA has led the conversation on eliminating sexual harassment in the entertainment industry through strategic partnerships with industry allies and by pushing for stronger legislation. In 2018, the union established the Four Pillars of Change initiative and issued its Code of Conduct and Guideline No. 1 (the prohibition of meetings in high-risk locations) to uphold professional standards and address the potentially toxic culture and power imbalances that contribute to workplace harassment. In 2019, the union collaborated with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and The Actors Fund to expand existing intervention tools and survivor support services.
PodcastExploring the vital role of intimacy coordinators as on-set liaisons between performers and film and TV productions. Intimacy Professionals Association founder Amanda Blumenthal and Alicia Rodis, a founding partner of Intimacy Directors International, join hosts SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White.
Warren proposes criminal penalties for spreading disinformation online
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:28
Democratic presidential hopeful Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks during the fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by The New York Times and CNN at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on October 15, 2019.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday released a plan to fight disinformation and to hold tech companies accountable for their actions in light of the 2016 election.
"Disinformation and online foreign interference erode our democracy, and Donald Trump has invited both," Warren said in a Tweet Wednesday. "Anyone who seeks to challenge and defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election must be fully prepared to take this on '' and I've got a plan to do it."
Warren proposed to combat disinformation by holding big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google responsible for spreading misinformation designed to suppress voters from turning out.
"I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote," Warren said in a release.
Warren, who has been an advocate for breaking up big tech companies like Amazon and Facebook, has said that she wants to make "big structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition." It's part of a broader policy to stop disinformation, requiring tech companies and the government to come together to solve the problem.
Other candidates such as Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders have also been skeptical of large technology companies. Sanders has repeatedly targeted Amazon, saying it should increase its wages and benefits for workers.
Warren has slipped in recent polls ahead of the Iowa caucuses next week. She's in third place in national polls and fourth place in Iowa.
Warren also criticized how the companies' emphasis on profit contributed to misinformation during the 2016 election, such as false ads that led to polarization and could have suppressed votes from groups like black voters.
As president, Warren said she would reinstate the position of cybersecurity coordinator at the National Security Council, a position crucial to protecting the U.S. She added she will also open up data for research so that academics and organizations can provide the public with knowledge on disinformation.
"The stakes of this election are too high -- we need to fight the spread of false information that disempowers voters and undermines democracy," Warren said. "I'll do my part -- and I'm calling on my fellow candidates and big tech companies to do their part too."
Before the coronavirus, China had a huge pig problem: African Swine Fever
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:25
China is learning that when it rains, it pours. For the last couple of weeks, their humongous problem with the coronavirus, a problem that may be bigger than they're reporting, has been making news across the world as fears of it spreading and becoming on epidemic are at top of mind. But they had a problem before the coronavirus that will almost certainly impact their economy, food supply, and culture for months if not years.
China's pigs are dying. Some estimates put it at 1/3rd of their entire pig population has been infected by the deadly African Swine Fever, forcing millions of pigs to die or be killed before getting buried unused. As the world's largest consumer of pork, which comprises over 70% of the protein the population ingests, this is a devastating development. And now the coronavirus has diverted resources away from addressing the pig problem.
The South China Morning Post reported last month that state media blamed ''criminal gangs'' for spreading the disease so they could buy pigs cheaply and sell them at a premium.
But there may be hope on the horizon. Early reports came through yesterday that the U.S. has developed a vaccine.
U.S. Says It's Got a 'Promising' African Swine Fever VaccineGovernment and academic experts in the U.S. have developed a vaccine against African swine fever that's proved 100% effective, according to the American Society for Microbiology.
Both high and low doses of the vaccine, developed from a genetically modified prior strain of the virus, were effective in pigs when they were challenged 28 days after innoculation, the report said.
''This new experimental ASFV vaccine shows promise, and offers complete protection against the current strain currently producing outbreaks throughout Eastern Europe and Asia,'' said Douglas Gladue, the principal investigator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which developed the vaccine.
If China cannot get a handle on the African Swine Fever that's devastating their nation, the coronavirus could be the least of their problems. Considering how fast the disease is spreading, that's saying a lot about the largest nation in the world.
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Finland's first coronavirus case confirmed in Lapland | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:21
The patient was admitted to Lapland Central Hospital. Image: Kaisa Siren / LehtikuvaA Chinese tourist who was admitted to hospital for tests after showing symptoms was confirmed to have the deadly new strain of coronavirus that has so far killed more than a hundred people in China.
Infectious diseases specialist Markku Broas from Lapland Central Hospital said that the tourist left Wuhan province five days before seeking treatment in Finland. The province, which is the epicentre of the current outbreak, was shut down soon afterwards by Chinese authorities trying to stop the spread of the disease.
The tourist is said to be a female aged 32 and in relatively good health. She sought medical attention in Ivalo when symptoms first appeared. Samples were taken after a transfer to Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi. Tests conducted in Helsinki confirmed the infection.
15 people possibly exposed"It was to be expected that cases brought by visitors could also come to light in Finland. However the risk of the disease spreading in Finland is still very small, so there is no need for concern," said THL director Mika Salminen.
So far officials estimate that about 15 people may have been exposed to infection. Health authorities will monitor persons exposed to the risk of infection for 14 days, in accordance with World Health Organization recommendations.
Lapland hospital specialist Broas said that the majority of people under observation after possible exposure to the disease are foreign nationals. "Travel restrictions in China will reduce the risk of infection," he noted.
Health officials from the Lapland hospital district as well as local health officials will continue to manage the situation in collaboration with the THL.
"Finland is prepared for possible cases. The health care system and laboratories have operating systems in place. Hospitals are also prepared to investigate and care for coronavirus infections in isolation wards," Salminen added.
Meanwhile THL officials said in a press conference Wednesday evening that the possible window for infection from this patient was likely very narrow. They added that there are no locations at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport where people might have been exposed to infection.
Officials call for calmLapland health officials said that the woman diagnosed with the virus had been in the Saariselk¤ area of northern Finland and began to exhibit symptoms last Sunday.
She is running a temperature but does not need intensive care, they noted. The patient will be double-tested to be sure that she is disease-free before she is released from quarantine.
Officials sought to calm fears by noting that the total number of coronavirus cases in Europe is now seven and that the European Union is well positioned to manage the disease.
They said that this isolated case should not cause concern in Finland, even if a few more cases are diagnosed. Members of the public are being advised to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and to simply go about their usual business as the situation in Finland is not likely to change.
The public can consult the THL website for information on the Wuhan coronavirus strain. Officials also urged travellers to follow Foreign Ministry travel advisories.
Previous suspected cases clearedThe virus has spread to more than 16 countries so far, with more than 130 people dead and nearly 6,000 confirmed cases in China up to Wednesday afternoon.
Symptoms are very similar to ordinary colds and flu, and patients are advised to take extra precautions when these symptoms appear.
The virus can be spread before symptoms appear, and some cases are very mild, so it is likely people have unwittingly carried the virus.
Last Friday two other visitors were declared to be free of novel coronavirus infection after initially being suspected of carrying the disease.
In that case, a father and son had come to Lapland from Wuhan via Norway and sought treatment at a health centre. However tests conducted by THL confirmed that they were not infected by the Wuhan strain of coronavirus, but some other viral respiratory infection.
Edit: Updated at 5.40pm to include comments from THL director Mika Salminen and information about the number of people possibly exposed to infection.
Updated at 6.30pm to include further details about the infected patient and other information from the THL press conference.
Updated at 6.53pm to include Markku Broas' comments about persons possibly exposed to infection.
Updated at 1.54pm on 30 January to correct reference to patient's estimated time of departure from Wuhan.
Heiress Abigail Disney on Kobe Bryant: 'The man was a rapist.' | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:21
Abigail Disney has weighed in on Kobe Bryant's controversial past, after actress Evan Rachel Wood and a Washington Post journalist were berated for tweeting about a rape allegation against him from 2003, just hours after his death in a helicopter crash Sunday.
The Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker posted her opinion Wednesday morning, after Wood made her Twitter account private in response to backlash and Felicia Sonmez was reinstated as political reporter following her 'ill-timed' tweet that garnered death threats.
Disney - whose grandfather Roy O. Disney co-founded The Walt Disney Company - tweeted: 'I haven't said anything about Kobe so far because I felt some time needed to pass before weighing in. But yes, it's time for the sledgehammer to come out. The man was a rapist. Deal with it.'
Her comments were swiftly met with backlash, with one fan telling Disney: 'I usually enjoy your tweets & perspective, not this time.'
Another added: 'You're what's wrong in this world.'
Abigail Disney has weighed in on Kobe Bryant's (pictured right in 2006) controversial past, three days after he was killed in a helicopter crash. She tweeted: 'I haven't said anything about Kobe so far because I felt some time needed to pass ... The man was a rapist. Deal with it'
The Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker posted her opinion Wednesday morning, sharing a Washington Post story where journalist David Von Drehle writes that 'remembering Kobe Bryant required the hammer of truth' - referring to a reminder of a 2003 rape allegation against the sports star
Alongside her caption, Disney shared a Washington Post story by journalist David Von Drehle. He suggests that Sonmez shattered the illusion of Bryant's perfect past, opining that she metaphorically 'swung a 20-pound sledgehammer' at Bryant's hero image.
He calls her Twitter backlash as 'disgusting as you would expect' and shares how the decision for her to be suspended was widely 'denounced inside the newsroom'.
Drehle notes in the article that 'somewhere a woman was experiencing this outpouring of adulation for a man who choked and lacerated her during an encounter that she called a rape, and which he acknowledged was very much like one'.
Mentioning that Bryant himself 'admitted that he engaged in rough sex with his accuser, choked her so violently that she had bruises on her jawline and left her with multiple lacerations,' he added: 'This woman, and others like her, victimized by other accomplished, admired, even celebrated men, should not be resected from the stories of those men's lives.'
Drehle's op-ed ends with him opining the 'hammer of truth' is an imperfect tool because it will break hearts. He adds: 'Still, it's the best one we have.'
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (pictured together in December) and seven others were killed when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday
The Washington Post story from David Von Drehle supported a colleague who received death threats after posting a story about a 2003 rape allegation against Bryant hours after he died
One Twitter user branded Disney feminist Social Justice Warrior 'trash' and wished death upon her
Some followers shared that they didn't want to hear anything about Bryant's controversial past
Some suggested Disney should not bring up the allegation because Bryant's family was still grieving
Others accused Disney of starting trouble and pointed the finger at Bryant's 19-year-old accuser who dropped the case against him as part of a private agreement
Although Bryant denied the rape charges, he did admit to cheating on his wife Vanessa and reportedly settled a civil suit with the 19-year-old.
Terms of the agreement were never released.
On Wednesday, one person tweeted Disney: 'That was a money grab and you know it. Stop spreading that bs.'
Another wrote: 'This is unfair and not ok. Feel how you will about him but his wife lost her husband, his daughters lost their father. If you must go down this road, educate yourself fully on that situation first, you just may feel a bit differently.'
One social media user replied: 'Another example of Feminist SJW trash.'
Disney chimed in three days after Evan Rachel Wood tweeted: 'I am heartbroken for Kobe's family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.'
She later deleted the Twitter post and shared an updated version of the message about the late basketball star, adding at the start: 'What has happened is tragic.'
As fans around the world mourned the former LA Lakers player after his death at 41 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, some responded suggesting Wood was a hypocrite after working with Woody Allen whose daughter Dylan has accused him of child sex abuse.
Disney's tweet came days after Evan Rachel Wood (right) received a massive backlash after she branded Bryant a rapist. She was referring to his 2003 rape allegation. Bryant is pictured left in court for the case in 2004
Wood first tweeted: 'I am heartbroken for Kobe's family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously' but later deleted it and tweeted a new message with 'what happened is tragic' at the start
Wood later locked down her Twitter account after backlash for posting Bryant 'was a rapist'
Hours after it was learned that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people who were killed in a helicopter crash, Washington Post journalist Felicia Sonmez tweeted a link to a 2016 story about the 2003 rape accusations
Sonmez was placed on administrative leave by The Washington Post, but was later reinstated after it was found she didn't violate the social media policy
On Wednesday, Disney appeared to show support for Sonmez, who had posted a link to an April 2016 story from the news site The Daily Beast which carried the headline: 'Kobe Bryant's Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser's Story, and the Half-Confession.'
Other social media users have thanked Disney, Wood and Sonmez for reminding the public of Bryant's past.
Disney has spoken about being a survivor of sexual assault herself and in the past has expressed how furious she was about hearing MeToo allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
She has backed female-driven entertainment company Level Forward which helps tell stories from a perspective that's rarely seen.
Disney - whose late father Roy E Disney was a top executive at The Walt Disney Company - also spoke in support of Christine Blasey Ford amid the Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in 2018.
'In all seriousness, I feel for Dr. Ford, I have experienced sexual assault,' Disney tweeted. She said 'nothing has been as triggering for me' as she compared Kavanaugh to her dad.
'I had an angry, alcoholic father. He had an inside face and an outside face...' Disney added.
She continued about Kavanaugh: 'The allegation casts enough of a shadow over his character that no decision from here forward can ever go unquestioned.'
More than a year ago Disney showed support for Christine Blasey Ford who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Disney added that she's a victim of sexual assault herself
Disney compared Kavanaugh to her late father Roy E Disney who she accused of having an anger problem, among other things, rooted in his sense of entitlement
She added about Kavanaugh: 'The allegation casts enough of a shadow over his character that no decision from here forward can ever go unquestioned'
Practice Fusion, once backed by top VCs, pushed doctors to prescribe opioids in kickback scheme | TechCrunch
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:15
Practice Fusion, a medical records startup that attracted more than $150 million from VCs, including at Founders Fund, Kleiner Perkins and Artis Ventures, has received its share of negative press since selling to its older, publicly traded rival Allscripts in a $100 million cash deal in early 2018.
Yet it appears that Practice Fusion, founded in 2005, was run even more poorly than has been previously reported. In fact, the company was just tied to the drug overdose epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans in just the last few years alone.
How is it possible that a seemingly boring, venture-backed, San Francisco-based medical records startup could have that kind of impact? In a word: kickbacks.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Practice Fusion solicited and received pay from an (unnamed for now) major opioid company in exchange for using its EHR software to influence doctors in the act of prescribing opioid pain medications.
Specifically, according to court documents released earlier today by federal prosecutors in Vermont, Practice Fusion solicited a nearly $1 million payment from the opioid company, promising that in exchange it would create alerts in its software that would cause physicians to write more prescriptions for extended release opioids than were medically needed.
Practice Fusion has agreed to pay $145 million to resolve the DOJ's criminal and civil investigations, including a $26 million criminal fine and a $118.6 million civil settlement that ''also resolves allegations of kickbacks relating to thirteen other CDS arrangements where Practice Fusion agreed with pharmaceutical companies to implement CDS alerts intended to increase sales of their products.''
Practice Fusion has also agreed to post documents about its conduct on a public website '-- though apparently not on its own site, which instead features very typical marketing language, beginning with the suggestion that visitors ''meet the EHR that helps independent practices thrive.''
Neither is information available on the site of Allscripts, which says it has already taken measures to address the ordeal. A statement released by an Allscript's vice president today reads: ''Since learning of this matter we have further strengthened Practice Fusion's compliance program. Allscripts recognizes the devastating impact that opioids have had on communities nationwide, and we are using our technology to fight this epidemic.''
Allscripts has denied from the start that it knew the depths of Practice Fusion's woes, even while it apparently had an inkling that all was not hunky-dory. According to numerous reports, AllScripts submitted a nonbinding letter of intent in May 2017 to purchase Practice Fusion for between $225 million and $250 million, which is twice what it paid seven months later.
According to FierceBiotech, Allscripts pulled its offer in June 2017 after another EHR vendor, eClinicalWorks, settled with federal prosecutors for $155 million to resolve allegations that it falsified EHR certification. The ''settlement suddenly clarified [for Allscripts] just how expensive a similar legal battle could be,'' says the outlet, noting that the DOJ had separately reached out to Practice Fusion with questions about its own EHR certification in March of 2017.
Either way, by last August, Allscripts was ready to put the entire affair behind it, announcing during a second-quarter earnings call that it had agreed to pay the $145 million settlement after reaching an agreement with the DOJ related to what was then an ongoing investigation.
At the time, Allscripts President Rick Poulton told shareholders, ''As you know from our previous SEC filings, DOJ began investigations into certain practices of Practice Fusion before we acquired the business early last year. These investigations had many similarities that have either been settled or remain active with many of our industry competitors.''
Poulton added during that same call, ''After acquiring Practice Fusion, the DOJ investigations continued to expand and required expanding levels of resources from us to support.''
The company's new admission of guilt and accompanying settlement is a black mark for those involved with Practice Fusion from its earliest days, particularly given that this latest news punctuates a string of concerning revelations about the way Practice Fusion was managed.
Soon after the startup was acquired by Allscripts, for example, CNBC published a report outlining ''several years of missed targets,'' a ''management shake-up that resulted in the ouster of founder and CEO Ryan Howard,'' and a board that was ''quietly looking for a way out.''
CNBC also reported that many longtime employees left the company with nothing, while managers ''banked millions'' in a pre-arranged carve-out.
Christina Nolan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, had her own harsh words in delivering news of the settlement earlier today, calling Practice Fusion's conduct ''abhorrent.''
Said Nolan, ''During the height of the opioid crisis, the company took a million-dollar kickback to allow an opioid company to inject itself in the sacred doctor-patient relationship so that it could peddle even more of its highly addictive and dangerous opioids.
''The companies illegally conspired to allow the drug company to have its thumb on the scale at precisely the moment a doctor was making incredibly intimate, personal, and important decisions about a patient's medical care, including the need for pain medication and prescription amounts.''
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths from opioids have increased almost six times since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed close to 50,000 in 2017, and 36% of those deaths involved prescription opioids.
The Practice Fusion case is the first-ever criminal action against a vendor of electronic health records, according to Nolan's office.
2 satellites narrowly avoided hitting each other over Pennsylvania, officials say | Fox News
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 07:12
Two defunct satellites expected to come within a few feet apart and possibly collide instead sped past each other in opposite orbits Wednesday.
Experts initially warned the satellites, an Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and the Gravity Gradient Stabilization Experiment (GGSE-4), could collide and send debris through space at remarkable speeds.
TARANTULA NEBULA STUNS IN NEW VIEW FROM THE SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE
Two satellites crossed path with each other Wednesday, worrying experts who theorized the two could collide and send debris hustling through space. (NASA) (NASA)
The crossover occurred about 560 miles above Pittsburgh around 6:39 p.m., Agence France-Presse reported. The IRAS was launched in 1983 as part of a joint mission with NASA, Britain and the Netherlands, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The other was a U.S. Air Force experiment launched in 1967, according to NASA.
Had they hit each other, it could have created thousands of pieces of debris, with some 1,000 pieces possibly measuring more than 10 centimeters, astrodynamicist Dan Oltrogge told the news outlet.
Any debris created would not have posed a threat to Pittsburgh, experts said. Around 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball are currently orbiting around Earth.
LeoLabs, a satellite-tracking company, tracked the paths of both satellites and said it had not found evidence of new debris.
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"Thankfully our latest data following the event shows no evidence of new debris. To be sure, we will perform a further assessment upon the next pass of both objects over Kiwi Space Radar occurring later tonight," its tweet read.
The last collision of large satellites in space occurred in 2009 when a commercial U.S. Iridium spacecraft hit a defunct Russian satellite over Siberia, the BBC reported.
Fox News' Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.
Japan hopefully has time to build virus defenses before Olympics: professor - Reuters
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:47
FILE PHOTO: Fireworks light up the sky near the illuminated Olympic rings at a ceremony to mark six months before the start of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo January 24, 2020. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
TOKYO (Reuters) - Vaccines against a coronavirus that has killed 170 people in China probably won't be ready by the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, a professor who looked at health risks ahead of the Games said, adding that he hoped that there was enough time to build defenses.
Koji Wada, professor of public health at the International University of Health and Welfare in Tokyo, co-authored a paper in 2018 that looked at health risks from the influx of visitors to the 2020 Games in July.
The spread of measles, rubella and other vaccine-preventable diseases was seen at the time as the most likely risk, according to the report, along with food and waterborne illnesses.
Wada said he hoped there was enough time to learn more about the coronavirus and how it spreads.
''We may have more information about the risk of infection and the risk of severity of getting the virus, so we can prepare,'' Wada told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. ''So we can have some precautions for infection control... but I hope we can conduct the Tokyo Olympics as scheduled.''
Two of three Japanese people evacuated from China and found to be infected with the new virus had not shown symptoms, Japan's health ministry said on Thursday, adding to worry about the dangers of the fast-spreading virus.
Fears of disease outbreaks have clouded recent Olympics. The mosquito-borne Zika virus threatened the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, while the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver were overshadowed by the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Dozens fell ill in an outbreak of norovirus ahead of South Korea's Pyeongchang Winter Games two years ago.
Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by David Dolan and Nick Macfie
5 Useful Ways to Get Over a Mental Block | Tony Robbins
Thu, 30 Jan 2020 06:06
If you've never felt stuck because of a mental block, you're in a lucky minority. Whether feeling stuck in a career, unfulfilled by relationships or discontent with the day-to-day, most people at some point have hit a plateau.
Feeling trapped in a mental block is extremely frustrating and can impact your professional life and even your personal relationships. Many factors can cause you to feel blocked in your thinking, from overanalyzing everything to overloading your plate with too many responsibilities. When you're stalled by your own mindset, understanding how to get over a mental block can help you finally make progress. What is a mental block, and how can you overcome one? By learning to take control of your mind and emotions, you empower yourself to create forward momentum in your life.
What is a mental block? It depends on who you ask. ''Mental block'' is a layman's term encompassing a range of experiences related to feeling obstructed in one's thinking. Depending on who you ask, you might hear terms like ''mental fatigue'' used instead '' especially by medical professionals, who use it to describe a condition caused by prolonged cognitive activity. Merriam Webster's dictionary delineates related terms like ''brain fog,'' ''writer's block'' and ''stumbling block'' to describe varying states of diminished mental capacity. Whatever the terminology used, mental blocks feature the same conundrum: an inability to concentrate, think or reason clearly, resulting in a lack of drive. Forbes reports that unchecked mental fatigue can even impact your physical health . If you don't learn how to get over a mental block, it can truly derail your productivity and sense of contentment with life.
1. Take control of your state Understanding how to get over a mental block is much like overcoming a plateau '' those places in life where the mind, body and emotions grind to a standstill. To regain your momentum, harmonize your mind and body to reach your peak state . Oftentimes a little activity is all that's needed to break through a mental block. Your state is ultimately the framework you operate out of in life, so use it to your advantage to unblock your thinking.
3. Recognize the signs of a breakthrough As you work to master how to get over a mental block, it helps to recognize the signs of a breakthrough. As unlikely as it sounds, the more frustrated you feel, the closer your breakthrough is. You may feel a vague sensation of discontentment with life, like you're reaching your limit and something needs to give. You may have already reached the point of feeling fed up, like you've had enough. Realize that these feelings are normal as people grow and evolve to overcome obstacles in their lives. These feelings signal your breakthrough around the corner.
5. Calm your environment When your environment is cluttered or uninspiring, learning how to get over a mental block becomes all the more difficult. Your environment is more than just your physical surroundings '' it also encompasses the sounds, people and activities that surround you in your day-to-day life. If you're overworked with too many responsibilities on your plate, you'll have a hard time working up the extra energy necessary to overcome a mental block. The same is true if you're not getting enough sleep or if you hold yourself to impossible standards. To beat mental exhaustion, stay organized and set realistic expectations of yourself and others. Rethink how you spend your energy and create a schedule you thrive on. If you're taking on too much work, learn to delegate and adjust your workplace operations for optimal efficiency. By taking control of your environment, you'll be able to make massive progress on how to get rid of mental blocks.
Overcome your mental block today Discover your true mental power by utilizing Tony Robbins' Limiting Beliefs E-Book .
The Daily Caller Sued Over 'Relentless,' 'Xenophobic' House IT 'Conspiracy Theories'
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 23:59
A former House information-technology staffer who became the center of fevered right-wing conspiracy theories about espionage and extortion filed a lawsuit Tuesday against The Daily Caller, alleging the conservative website defamed him and his relatives.
The 23-page complaint from former Democratic IT staffer Imran Awan was filed Tuesday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court. Awan and the other plaintiffs'--his wife, two of his brothers, and a friend, all of whom worked with Awan in Democratic House IT services'--named as defendants The Daily Caller, the nonprofit Daily Caller News Foundation, DCNF reporter Luke Rosiak, and conservative publisher Regnery, which published a 2019 book Rosiak wrote about Awan. The Daily Caller was founded in 2010 by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
The Awans' lawsuit accused the defendants of both defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, subjecting them to ''a relentless, xenophobic campaign of defamatory attacks.'' The Awans' lawyer, Deepak Gupta, told The Daily Beast that the heart of the complaint lies in the notion that ''the victims of fake news and right wing conspiracies are not just our politics and our discourse'--it's also real people, whose lives can be ruined.''
''The state of our politics is so polarized and so combative that people can forget that there are real people who might find themselves in the crosshairs,'' Gupta said. ''That's what happened here.''
The Awans claimed that they received death threats, were forced to move, and their children were forced to change schools as a result of The Daily Caller stories. One of the plaintiffs attempted suicide, according to the complaint.
''It's hard to overstate the degree to which this has ruined their lives,'' Gupta said. ''They lost their jobs. Their children were targeted.''
''This all put a strain on Imran and Hina's marriage,'' he added.
Awan immigrated to the United States from Pakistan as a teenager, and his relatives were thrust into pro-Trump conspiracy theories after the House Inspector General investigated their use of House servers and adherence to technology procurement rules. That investigation prompted conservative media outlets like The Daily Caller to portray the Awans as somehow subversive elements within the House, with one story written by Rosiak in 2017 declaring that representatives had been ''compromised by rogue IT staff.''
''Other outlets piled on, no doubt aware that a 'national security scandal' involving Pakistani-born Muslims would find a predisposed audience,'' the lawsuit alleged.
Reporting from The Daily Caller and other conservative outlets fueled speculation on the right-wing internet about the Awans, including claims that they worked for the Pakistani intelligence service or the Muslim Brotherhood. Other outlets seized on the baseless claimed that the Awans, not Russian hackers, were behind the 2016 Democratic National Committee email hacks.
The Daily Caller's reporting was also picked up by President Donald Trump, who called Awan a ''Pakistani fraudster'' and a ''Pakistani mystery man'' in tweets. The president even discussed Awan during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2018.
''What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?'' Trump said.
The Awans eventually lost their jobs amid the heightened scrutiny. The House Inspector General report found only that they had shared login credentials, inappropriately used government servers for personal use, and structured some technology purchases to avoid inventory reporting rules. (The Awans' lawsuit alleged the purchases were made with approval from the Democratic representatives who employed them.)
Imran Awan eventually pleaded guilty to making a false statement on a home loan, which was sparked by a Department of Justice bank fraud investigation his lawyers claim was the result of ''political pressure from the highest levels of the Trump Administration.'' Awan was charged after falsely claiming a property as his primary residence in an attempt to secure what his lawyers describe as money for his ailing father.
He was sentenced to time served in the case after prosecutors sought no jail time in the case and federal Judge Tanya Chutkan blasted ''scurrilous media attention'' leveled against him and his family. The stories about Awan and his associates prompted an unusual statement from the Department of Justice in Awan's plea deal, which disproved speculation about him.
''The Government has uncovered no evidence that your client violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems,'' read the plea agreement. ''Particularly, the Government has found no evidence that your client illegally removed House data from the House network or from House Members' offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus Server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information, including classified or sensitive information.''
Despite that, Rosiak kept up his criticisms of the Awan family after the Justice Department statement, according to the complaint, claiming the Awans were involved in blackmail and receiving money from Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah. Rosiak and Regnery published a book in early 2019 about Awan, Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats, that quickly rose up the Amazon book sales ranks and earned blurbs from Carlson and fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity.
''People who were not public figures'--who were just doing their jobs and living quiet lives'--were targeted because of their race and their religion and thrust into the spotlight with a series of conspiracy theories and attacks,'' Gupta told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. ''Those claims were amplified on every possible mass communications platform.''
The Awans' lawsuit alleges that Rosiak's book is ''riddled with outrageous, false, and defamatory attacks against the Awans,'' including claims that he ''hacked the House,'' solicited a cash bribe, and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in government equipment. Awans' attorneys say Rosiak even claimed that Awan boasted about having his enemies tortured in Pakistan.
''Imran Awan is basically an attempted murderer, an extortionist, a blackmail artist, a con man,'' Rosiak said in a July 2019 interview with right-wing newspaper The Epoch Times.
In an appearance on Lou Dobbs's Fox Business show, Rosiak allegedly implied that the Awans had stolen ''millions'' from the U.S. government.
''These guys are out free, probably running around in Pakistan with the millions of dollars that they funneled from Congress over to Pakistan,'' Rosiak said, according to the lawsuit.
Gupta said the Awans now just want to ''clear their names'' and ''move on.''
''They're looking for an end to this campaign of lies against them,'' he said. ''It's very important that nothing like this be allowed to happen to other people like them.''
The Awans' lawsuit marks the latest complaint filed by the targets of right-wing conspiracy theories. Their legal team includes two Texas lawyers who have sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars website on behalf of families whose children were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting.
Rosiak, The Daily Caller, and Regnery did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Hina and Imran's marriage was not ''ended'' by the conflict described in the lawsuit, as Gupta first stated erroneously.
Ukraine's ex-prosecutor who led Burisma investigation demands criminal probe of Biden '-- RT World News
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 23:36
Former top prosecutor of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, has filed a criminal complaint with the state authorities, claiming former US Vice President Joe Biden strong-armed Kiev into firing him in order to stop the Burisma investigation.
In the complaint Shokin sent to the Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) on Tuesday, the former prosecutor requests that Biden be charged with ''interference with the activities of a law enforcement officer.'' The document was obtained by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
Shokin urged the SBI to kick-start a pre-trial investigation into the alleged crime committed by Biden, who he claims was illegally pressuring Ukrainian officials into ousting him from office while using a $1 billion loan guarantee as a leverage.
Also on rt.com Joe Biden's past strong-arming in Ukraine is coming back to haunt him Noting that Biden, in his official capacity as the second-in-command in the US political hierarchy, repeatedly visited Ukraine in late 2015 and early 2016 to persuade high-ranking officials to remove him, Shokin argued that ''as a result, he curtailed an objective investigation criminal proceedings on the facts of unlawful activities of persons associated with the company Burisma Holdings Limited (Cyprus), including the son of the specified high-ranking official [Biden's son Hunter, who sat on the company's board from 2014 till 2019].''
Shokin specifically refers to the recently released documentary series 'UkraineGate: Inconvenient facts,' by French investigative journalist Olivier Berruyer, which challenges the Western media claims that the corruption investigation into Burisma was ''dormant'' at the time Biden was lobbying for Shokin's dismissal.
Berruyer, founder of the popular anti-corruption blog Les Crises, said that he collected documents that show that the investigation into the gas company was in full swing at the time.
Shokin's own words to that effect have receive only a passing mention, or no mention at all in the mainstream US media outlets, however. In a recent interview with ABC News, Shokin said that his office was handling six investigation into Burisma at the time of his resignation. However, ABC kept that part of the interview under wraps '' leaving the American public essentially in the dark about the status of the probe.
Also on rt.com UkraineGate: MSM believed Biden's narrative, but documentary reveals ousted prosecutor had 6 cases against Burisma Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives and is on trial in the Senate on charges of ''abuse of power,'' after Democrats accused him of pressuring Kiev into reviving the Burisma probe last summer by withholding US military aid.
Biden openly boasted at a 2018 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) event that in March 2016 he gave then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko a six-hour deadline to fire Shokin or he would withdraw $1 billion in US loan guarantees. Poroshenko subsequently dismissed Shokin on April 3. It was reported that a day after Yuriy Lutsenko was appointed new prosecutor general, Biden called Poroshenko to congratulate him and to announce that the US would greenlight the aid.
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French police charging firefighters, firefighters not having any of it - PublicFreakout
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 17:44
level 1 Original Poster 12.5k points · 10 hours ago For those asking for context, firefighters have several requests:
- Against pension cuts that used to let them retire early (at 57 y.old)
- Increase of their hazard pay (hasn't been increased since 1990)
- More budget for their stations, and more hire of firefighters
- More safety while working (some of them have been attacked while working in some places)
Adding to the fact that last time they protested, one of them lost an eye and several were injured due to police brutality, I think most of them don't see riot police as colleagues any more ...
Coronavirus Outbreak Tests World's Dependence on China
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:41
(C) Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images A car manufacturing plant jointly operated by Honda and the Chinese automaker Dongfeng in Wuhan, China. HONG KONG '-- The world is quickly learning how much it depends on China.
Ford and Toyota will idle some of their vast Chinese assembly plants for an extra week. Apple is rerouting supply chains. Starbucks has closed thousands of stores and is warning of a financial blow.
On Wednesday, British Airways suspended all flights to mainland China, while United Airlines and Air Canada are joining the growing number of carriers reducing service. Japan's leaders are bracing for a possible hit. Hotels and tour operators across Asia are watching fearfully as the world's largest source of tourism dollars tightens its borders.
(C) Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images An aerial view of residential and commercial buildings in Wuhan on Monday. The mysterious, pneumonialike coronavirus that has killed more than a hundred people and sickened thousands has virtually shut down one of the world's most important growth engines. Desperate to slow the fast-moving virus, the Chinese authorities have extended the country's national holiday to Feb. 3, and crippled land, rail and air transport. Entire cities have shut down.
An impoverished nation just four decades ago, China has become an essential part of the modern global industrial machine. China alone accounts for roughly one-sixth of global economic output. It is the world's largest manufacturer and trader.
It has become so crucial to the operations of American companies that some members of the Trump Administration cite that dependence as a justification for the trade war President Trump initiated two years ago against Beijing, an economic conflict that is forcing businesses to consider shifting their factories in China to countries with better relations with Washington.
Now the coronavirus is testing that dependence.
Related video: Deaths, confirmed cases from virus rise sharply (provided by Reuters)
Automakers like General Motors and Nissan plan to close their factories until the week of Feb. 3 to comply with the longer mandated holiday, while Toyota and Ford said this week that they would close some of their factories a week longer than that because of virus-related disruptions. Companies like G.M., Honeywell, Facebook and Bloomberg restricted travel for employees in China and established their own self-quarantine measures.
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On Tuesday, the Seattle-based coffee company Starbucks said it had closed more than half of its 4,292 stores in its second biggest market and said it would take a quarterly and full year financial hit.
The full extent of the hit to the broader business world is not yet clear. Most of China had already been shut down since at least Friday for the annual Lunar New Year holiday, a weeklong nationwide hiatus. But with the outbreak showing no signs of slowing, many companies are already preparing for a longer slowdown.
(C) Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images A man in a protective face mask walking along a street in Wuhan on Sunday. ''Our members are dealing with varying degrees of disruption in their businesses, including supply chain issues, temporary closings of some retail outlets and factories, and other challenges,'' said Jake Parker, the senior vice president of the US-China Business Council, which represents major companies. ''If travel restrictions and quarantines are expanded or the holiday extended beyond Feb. 8, that will amplify these problems.''
(C) Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press A street market set up to attract Chinese tourists in Bangkok. China's importance goes beyond what it makes. Its consumers buy more cars and smartphones than anybody else. When they go abroad, Chinese tourists spend $258 billion a year, according to the World Tourism Organization, nearly twice what Americans spend.
Global companies were reconsidering their China strategies even before the trade war began. Its growth is slowing, its labor costs are rising, local companies are increasingly competitive and the government has become less accommodating. Still, its skilled worker base, extensive highway and rail systems and vast consumer market make China tough to quit.
Many companies are now looking for temporary stopgaps.
Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, said on Tuesday that the iPhone maker was looking for alternative suppliers to ''make up for any expected production loss.'' Foxconn, a Taiwanese company with an extensive network of factories in China that make gadgets on behalf of Apple and others, said its factories would continue to follow the new holiday schedule.
Apple is not the only company that has had to pivot quickly. Just last week, executives of Honeywell, the American engineering company, traveled to Wuhan for a ceremony related to its plans to open an innovation headquarters. Two days later, Wuhan was put under lockdown by the authorities. Honeywell has since restricted travel to certain parts of China.
Wuhan in particular appeals to major companies because it is a major national transport hub. The auto industry, including General Motors, Honda, Nissan and many others have set up shop there, and many of their suppliers have followed. It is the home to more than one third of all French investment in China.
On Monday, PSA Group, the French automaker, said it had set up crisis communications between Wuhan and its Paris headquarters to determine the potential impact on production. The company employs about 2,000 people in Wuhan through its joint venture and was evacuating 38 expatriates.
It is not clear how quickly businesses will bounce back. During the deadly SARS outbreak 17 years ago, which began in China and killed hundreds globally, some factories paid higher wages to bring workers back and get factories humming again.
Right now, businesses do not know enough to make those kinds of plans. Cummins, the Indiana company, does not know whether it will be able to open its seven sites in Wuhan after the Feb. 3 holiday extension because the city remains under lockdown. The facilities make fuel and power systems for rail and marine industries.
''Literally, we are evaluating on an ongoing basis in real time,'' said Jon Mills, a spokesman for Cummins, ''and I imagine other places are in the same position as we are.''
Ford, which does not have any operations in Wuhan, said several of its major plants would nevertheless be idled until Feb. 10. A spokesman declined to disclose further details. The factories in four cities churn out nearly half a million vehicles a year, or an average of 9,400 cars a week.
Businesses in other countries are also trying to determine the impact.
In Japan on Tuesday, Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister of state for economic and fiscal policy, told a group of reporters that, ''If the situation takes longer to subside, we're concerned it could hurt Japanese exports, output and corporate profits.'' Chinese visitors account for about 30 percent of all foreign tourists, and Chinese companies are major buyers of Japanese-made components, like semiconductors and lenses.
In Thailand, Chinese sightseers spend nearly $18 billion annually, totaling about a quarter of tourist spending.
''Chinese tourists are the number one tourists to Thailand,'' said Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Mr. Yuthasak said in an interview that the government was exploring ways to compensate business owners who have lost money from the drop in tourists over the past few weeks. The government was even considering reducing parking fees for airlines and excise tax on jet fuel to lure more tourists, he said.
Anan Buates, 45, runs a business driving tourists. Chinese tourists are crucial to his business. So he grew alarmed when tour operators started making last-minute cancellations as the coronavirus emerged. Then, last week, China canceled overseas group tours.
''It's their right and it's their policy to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus,'' Mr. Anan said. Still, he knows he faces a daunting challenge.
''We survive the whole year because they come the whole year.''
Eimi Yamamitsu contributed reporting from Tokyo, Ryn Jirenuwat from Bangkok and Cao Li from Hong Kong.
Fact Check: Donald Trump's 'Do Whatever I Want' Comment About Firing Robert Mueller
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:32
7,836 Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) argued Thursday that President Donald Trump violated the fundamental principle of the Constitution by saying in an interview that Article II allowed him to ''do whatever I want.''
Here is what Pelosi said after announcing the Democrats' intent to impeach the president:
The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when he says and acts upon the belief 'Article II says I can do whatever I want.' No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution. A separation of powers, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other.
She repeated the claim in a CNN town hall on Thursday:
In that Constitution, the genius of it all was the system of checks and balances. They did not want a monarch. They did not want a president king. That's what they fought the war against.
The president said '-- Article I is the legislative branch. Article II is the executive branch. The president said, Article II says I can do whatever I want.
So for me, this is about honoring our oath of office, making sure that the Constitution is respected. And it's about that and how he has ignored the subpoenas of Congress, the oversight of Congress. Something very strange there, that there hasn't been an intervention amongst some of his own people.
Pelosi said Trump was betraying the Founders and the Constitution by acting as a ''king'' or a ''monarch,'' using references to the monarchy five times in her impeachment statement and at least six times in the CNN town hall.
But Pelosi is taking the president out of context. The Trump comment about Article II is taken from a June interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos.
Trump said:
Look, Article II, I would be allowed to fire Robert Mueller. Assuming I did all of the things, I said I want to fire him. Number one, I didn't. He wasn't fired. Number one, very importantly, but more importantly, Article II allows me to do whatever I want. Article II would allow me to fire him. I wasn't going to fire him. You know why '-- because I watched Richard Nixon firing everybody, and that didn't work out too well.
Pelosi is hanging the case for impeachment on a badly misconstrued quote. As the duly elected president of the United States, Trump has the authority to hire and fire anybody in his administration.
Trump correctly cited his authority given to him by Article II to allow him to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, even though he never did. The president did not cite Article II to make the case that he was above the separation of powers in the Constitution.
MOST POPULARFROM THE HOMEPAGE
Flynn's Defense Files Motion Saying His Former Legal Team 'Betrayed Him' - Sara A. Carter
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:15
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn filed a supplemental motion to withdraw his guilty plea Wednesday citing failure by his previous counsel to advise him of the firm's 'conflict of interest in his case' regarding the Foreign Agents Registration Act form it filed on his behalf, and by doing so ''betrayed Mr. Flynn,'' stated Sidney Powell, in a defense motion to the court.
Flynn's case is now in its final phase and his sentencing date, which was scheduled for Jan. 28, in a D.C. federal court before Judge Emmet Sullivan was changed to Feb. 27. The change came after Powell filed the motion to withdraw his plea just days after the prosecutors made a major reversal asking for up to six months jail time. The best case scenario for Flynn, is that Judge Sullivan allows him to withdraw his guilty plea, the sentencing date is thrown-out and then his case would more than likely would head to trial.
Powell alleged in a motion in December, 2019 that Flynn was strong-armed by the prosecution into pleading guilty to one count of lying to FBI investigators regarding his conversation with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Others, close to Flynn, have corroborated the accounts suggesting prosecutors threatened to drag Flynn's son into the investigation, who also worked with his father at Flynn Intel Group, a security company established by Flynn.
In the recent motion Flynn denounced his admission of guilt in a declaration, ''I am innocent of this crime, and I request to withdraw my guilty plea. After I signed the plea, the attorneys returned to the room and confirmed that the [special counsel's office] would no longer be pursuing my son.''
He denied that he lied to the FBI during the White House meeting with then FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka. The meeting was set up by now fired FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was also fired for lying to Inspector General Michael Horowitz's investigators. Strzok was fired by the FBI for his actions during the Russia investigation.
Flynn stated: ''When FBI agents came to the White House on January 24, 2017, I did not lie to them. I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection at the time. I still don't remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel.''
Covington betrayed Mr. Flynn, Sidney Powell Said In Motion
Powell Targets Flynn's Former Legal TeamPowell noted in Wednesday's motion that Flynn's former defense team at Covington & Burling, a well known Washington D.C. law firm, failed to inform Flynn that their lawyers had made ''some initial errors or statements that were misunderstood in the FARA registration process and filings.'' She also reaffirmed her position in the motion that government prosecutors are continuing to withhold exculpatory information that would benefit Flynn.
A spokesperson with Flynn's former law firm Covington & Burling, stated in an email to SaraACarter.com that ''Under the bar rules, we are limited in our ability to respond publicly even to allegations of this nature, absent the client's consent or a court order.''
In Powell's motion, she stated that Covington and Burling was well aware that it had a 'conflict of interest' in representing Flynn after November 1, 2017. She stated in the motion it was on that day, when Special Counsel prosecutors had notified Covington that ''it recognized Covington's conflict of interest from the FARA registration.'' Moreover, the government had asked Covington lawyers to discuss the discrepancy and conflict with Flynn, Powell stated in the motion.
''Mr. Flynn's former counsel at Covington made some initial errors or statements that were misunderstood in the FARA registration process and filings, which the SCO amplified, thereby creating an 'underlying work' conflict of interest between the firm and its client,'' stated Powell in the motion.
''Government counsel specified Mr. Flynn's liability for 'false statements' in the FARA registration, and he told Covington to discuss it with Mr. Flynn,'' states the motion. ''This etched the conflict in stone. Covington betrayed Mr. Flynn.''
Powell included in her motion an email from Flynn's former law firm Covington & Burling between his former attorney's Steven Anthony and Robert Kelner. The email was regarding the Special Counsel's then-charges against Paul Manafort, who had been a short term campaign manager for Trump. Manafort and his partner Rick Gates, were then faced with 'multiple criminal violations, including FARA violations.''
Internal Email From the motion: In the internal email sent to Kelner, Anthony addresses his concerns after the Manafort order was unsealed.
I just had a flash of a thought that we should consider, among many many factors with regard to Bob Kelley, the possibility that the SCO has decided it does not have, [with regard to] Flynn, the same level of showing of crime fraud exception as it had [with regard to] Manafort. And that the SCO currently feels stymied in pursuing a Flynn-lied-to-his-lawyers theory of a FARA violation. So, we should consider the conceivable risk that a disclosure of the Kelley declaration might break through a wall that the SCO currently considers impenetrable.
In February, 2017, then Department of Justice official David Laufman had called Flynn's lawyers to push them to file a FARA, the motion states. In fact, it was a day after Flynn was fired as the National Security Advisor for Trump. Laufman made the call to the Covington and Burling office ''to pressure them to file the FARA forms immediately,'' according to the motion.
Laufman's push for Flynn's FARA seemed peculiar considering, Flynn's company 'Flynn Intel Group' had filed a Lobbying Registration Act in September, 2016. Former partner to Flynn Bijan Rafiekian, had been advised at the time by then lawyer Robert Kelly that there was no need for the firm to file a FARA because it was not dealing directly with a foreign country or foreign government official, as stated during his trial. In Rafiekian's trial Kelly testified that he advised the Flynn Intel Group that by law they only needed to file a Lobbying Disclosure Act and suggested they didn't need to file a FARA when dealing with a foreign company. In this instance it was Innova BV, a firm based in Holland and owned by the Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin.
Flynn's former Partner's Case Overturned, Powell Cites Case In MotionIn September, 2019, however, in a stunning move Judge Anthony Trenga with the Eastern District of Virginia Rafiekian's conviction was overturned. Trenga stated in his lengthy acquittal decision that government prosecutors did not make their case and the ''jury was not adequately instructed as to the role of Michael Flynn in light of the government's in-court judicial admission that Flynn was not a member of the alleged conspiracy and the lack of evidence sufficient to establish his participation in any conspiracy'...''
An important side note, Laufman continually posts anti-Trump tweets and is frequently on CNN and MSNBC targeting the administration and its policies.
These despicable remarks reflect contempt for democracy and government accountability, and constitute further evidence of the President's unfitness to lead our great nation. Republican Members of Congress, stand up and fulfill your oaths.https://t.co/a8BwWkLTkv
'-- David Laufman (@DavidLaufmanLaw) September 26, 2019
Powell said prosecutors reversed course on their decision to not push for jail time for Flynn in early January because she said, her client ''refused to lie for the prosecution'' in the Rafiekian case.
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Joni Ernst - Wikipedia
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:46
United States Senator from Iowa
Joni Kay Ernst (n(C)e Culver, July 1, 1970)[6] is an American politician and former military officer serving as the junior United States Senator for Iowa since 2015.[7] A Republican, she served in the Iowa Senate from 2011 to 2014. She served in the Iowa Army National Guard from 1993 to 2015, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.[5] Ernst is the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress and the first female combat veteran elected to the United States Senate from any state.[8][9]
She was elected vice chair of the United States Senate Republican Conference in November 2018.[10]
Early life and career [ edit ] Ernst was born Joni Kay Culver in Montgomery County, Iowa, the daughter of Marilyn and Richard Culver.[11] She was valedictorian of her class at Stanton High School.[12] She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Iowa State University,[13] and a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbus State University.[12][14] While in college, she took part in an agricultural exchange to the Soviet Union.[15]
Military career [ edit ] Ernst joined Iowa State University's ROTC program at age 20 and then the United States Army Reserve after graduating.[4] She served as a logistics officer and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. In 2003-2004, she spent 12 months in Kuwait as the company commander of the 1168th Transportation Company, during the Iraq War.[14][16][17] Near the end of her career, she served as the commanding officer of the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Camp Dodge, the largest battalion in the Iowa Army National Guard.[18][19] Upon her retirement from the military in 2015, Ernst had served 23 years between the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.[5]
Iowa politics [ edit ] Ernst was elected the Montgomery County Auditor in 2004 and re-elected in 2008.[14][20]
Ernst was elected to the Iowa State Senate in a special election in 2011 and re-elected in 2012. She represented District 12, which serves the southwest part of the state.[16][17][21][22] Ernst was a member of the Education, Appropriations, Veterans Affairs, Rules and Administration and Health and Human Services committees of the senate.[23]
Following her election to the U.S. Senate, she resigned from the Iowa State Senate, effective November 28, 2014.[24]
U.S. Senate [ edit ] 2014 election [ edit ] Ernst speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference
In July 2013, Ernst announced that she would seek the Senate seat held by retiring Democratic Senator Tom Harkin. Ernst received the endorsement of Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds in October 2013.[25] She was also endorsed by 23 current and former state legislators.[26] In March 2014 the Ernst campaign was endorsed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.[27][28] In May 2014, she was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[29][30][31]
Ernst received widespread attention for a campaign advertisement she released in March 2014 where she employed a tongue-in-cheek comparison between her experience castrating pigs and her ability to cut "pork" in Congress.[32][33] Many found the ad to be humorous[34][35] and it was spoofed by late-night comedians including Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert,[36][37][38][39] Before the ad aired, Ernst had struggled in fundraising,[40][41] and two polls of the Republican primary taken in February 2014 had shown her in second place, several points behind Republican opponent Mark Jacobs.[42][43] After it aired, a Suffolk University poll in early April showed her with a narrow lead and a Loras College poll showed her essentially tied with Jacobs.[38][44][45][46] By May, she was being described by the media as the "strong front-runner".[29]
Ernst's freshman portrait
In an interview with the Des Moines Register on May 9, 2014, Ernst said she was "extremely offended" by comments made by Jacobs in which she was characterized as AWOL due to missing over 100 votes in the legislative session ending April 7, 2014. Ernst stated: "If [Jacobs] had any sort of service like I have, he would've understood what AWOL means. I have not been AWOL, I will never be AWOL."[47] Previously, in an article in The Gazette, Ernst cited her National Guard duty to rebuff criticism about her missing votes,[48] but The Gazette found that only 12 of the 117 missed votes came on days when she was on duty. The other 105 missed votes represented 57 percent of the Iowa Senate votes that session. Ernst's spokesman said she had a better than 90 percent voting record during her career in the Senate and that she never claimed guard service was the only reason she's missed votes this session.[48][49]
In endorsing her for the Republican Primary nomination, the Des Moines Register stated: "Ernst is a smart, well-prepared candidate who can wrestle with the details of public policy from a conservative perspective without seeming inflexible."[50]
In July 2014, Ernst's campaigning was temporarily paused while she participated in two weeks of National Guard duty.[51] In that same month, Ernst delivered the Republican Party's weekly address, where she criticized the health care scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs and pushed for a balanced federal budget and entitlement reform.[15]
On August 29, Ernst and Braley announced their agreement to hold three televised debates in Davenport, Des Moines, and Sioux City. They were held on September 28, October 11 and 16, respectively.[52]
On October 23, Ernst cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Des Moines Register's editorial board, citing as a reason the newspaper's negative editorials about her.[53] The newspaper's editorial board endorsed Ernst's opponent, Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley.[54][55]
Ernst won the 2014 Senate race 52.2% to 43.7%.[56] She is the first woman elected to represent Iowa in either House of Congress.
Tenure [ edit ] 114th Congress (2015''2017) [ edit ] Ernst was sworn into the United States Senate on January 3, 2015.[57] She delivered the official Republican response to the State of the Union on January 20.[57][58][59]
Ernst speaking at a campaign event in May 2016
In May 2016, Ernst was placed on Chris Cilizza's short list as a possible vice presidential running mate for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign to become the 45th President of the United States.[60][61] Other media outlets included her as a possible benefit to Trump's campaign as well.[62][63][64] On June 16, Ernst said no one had "reached out" to her and that she was content with this.[65] On July 4, she and Trump met privately.[66] Trump selected Governor Mike Pence of Indiana on July 15.[67]
In 2016, along with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer, Charles Grassley, and Ben Sasse, Ernst introduced "Sarah's Law" in honor of Sarah Root, a 21-year-old female student in Omaha who was killed in a street racing crash in January 2016.[68][69]
115th Congress (2017''2019) [ edit ] Ernst attending the signing, by President Trump, of the
INSPIRE Women Act on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House
On January 12, 2017, Ernst questioned Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis on whether he would pledge to prioritizing cutting wasteful spending, stopping sexual assault and retaliation in the military, and enhance national security missions by leveraging the different abilities of "our guard and reserve forces"; Mattis committed to each.[70] Later that month, Ernst announced her intent to introduce legislation that would redirect funding for Planned Parenthood to other women's health care providers and that she already had a bill meant to overturn a policy of the Obama administration securing grants from Planned Parenthood to Title X family planning, furthering this would be accomplishable with a "pro-life president in the White House and pro-life majorities in the House and Senate".[71] President Trump signed the latter bill into law on April 13, 2017.[72]
In early February, Ernst predicted that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would be confirmed and charged the Democrats in the Senate with trying to obstruct her confirmation due to bitterness over the election results two months prior.[73] After DeVos was confirmed, Ernst stated she had vetted DeVos, who she found to believe those physically closest to students knew what was best for them, and would hold her accountable during her tenure.[74]
On March 14, after the release of photographs of nude female soldiers on a Facebook page, Ernst stressed this "type of activity creates a culture that leads to sexual assault."[75] During a press conference on March 28, Ernst made the request of Congress for the passage to require individuals to immediately report suspected sexual assault at government facilities.[76]
116th Congress (2019''present) [ edit ] On January 3, 2019, the first day of the 116th United States Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a roster of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirming Ernst and Marsha Blackburn's membership, the first female Republicans on the committee.[77]
In March 2019, after the Special Counsel Investigation concluded and Attorney General William Barr released a summary of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Ernst called for a release of the report's full findings: "I strongly believe that as much of the report that can be made public should be '-- barring any national security threat. Taxpayers have paid millions for this investigation; it's only right that they see its findings."[78]
Committee assignments [ edit ] Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and ForestrySubcommittee on Rural Development and Energy (Chair)Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture SecuritySubcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty CropsCommittee on Armed ServicesSubcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities (Chair)Subcommittee on Readiness and Management SupportSubcommittee on SeapowerCommittee on Environment and Public WorksSubcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear SafetySubcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory OversightCommittee on the JudiciarySubcommittee on Border Security and ImmigrationSubcommittee on Crime and TerrorismSubcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal CourtsCommittee on Small Business and EntrepreneurshipPolitical positions [ edit ] During her 2014 campaign, Ernst cast herself as an independent Republican.[79] In 2019, Politico characterized her as "a reliable vote for most of Trump's agenda."[79] In fact, she votes with Trump 91.1% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight's "Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump" tally.[80]
For the 2017-2018 session of Congress, Ernst received a score of 86 from the American Conservative Union. She has a lifetime rating of 85 from that organization.
Agriculture [ edit ] In March 2019, Ernst was one of thirty-eight senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers "have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices" and urging his department to "strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program."[81]
In April 2019, Ernst and Debbie Stabenow led five other senators in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Perdue urging the Agriculture Department to implement conservation measures in the 2018 Farm Bill "through a department-wide National Water Quality Initiative, which would build off the existing initiative housed at the Natural Resource Conservation Service."[82]
In May 2019, Ernst was a cosponsor of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Ben Sasse and Jon Tester intended to reform hours of service for livestock haulers through authorizing drivers to have the flexibility to rest at any point during their trip without it being counted against their hours of service and exempting loading and unloading times from the hours of service calculation of driving time.[83]
Barack Obama [ edit ] In 2014, when asked about President Barack Obama's recess appointments, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously were unconstitutional, Ernst referred to Obama as a dictator who should be "removed from office" or face "impeachment."[84] She said, "He is running amok. He is not following our Constitution."[84][85]
Economy [ edit ] Ernst opposes the federal minimum wage and has said that states should have sole authority to set their own minimum wages.[86][87] She has pointed to differences in the cost of living in various states, "I think $7.25 is appropriate for Iowa, but that's up for our state legislators to decide, and I'm willing to have those discussions at the state level."[88] In response to a Congressional Budget Office report which projected that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would lift 900,000 out of poverty, but would cost 500,000 people their jobs, Ernst stated that "government and government-mandated wage increases are not the solution'--especially when doing so comes at the expense of the jobs of hard working Americans."[89]
Ernst has proposed eliminating the Internal Revenue Service.[90] During the 2013 legislative session, Ernst worked on legislation which reduced property taxes in Iowa.[91] She says she supports a "fairer, flatter, and simpler" federal tax code.[47] In 2017, she voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[92][79]
In 2014, Ernst expressed support for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, as well as a reduction in spending on entitlement programs and discretionary spending.[47] She has expressed support for a partial privatization of Social Security accounts for young workers[29] while protecting Social Security for seniors and those nearing retirement.[93]
In May 2018, Ernst was one of nine Republican senators to introduce a rescission package meant to fulfill President Trump's wish to curb spending by $15.4 billion as part of an attempt to roll out the legislation to ensure it reached the Senate floor within a 45-day window while avoiding a filibuster from Democrats.[94]
In December 2018, Ernst voted to confirm Kathy Kraninger as the next Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a decisive vote. The measure ultimately cleared the United States Senate chamber with all 50 present Republicans voting in favor of the confirmation and all 49 Democrats voting in opposition.[95]
Education [ edit ] She has advocated eliminating the U.S. Department of Education "not just because it would save taxpayer dollars, but because I do believe our children are better educated when it's coming from the state."[96][90]
Environmental issues [ edit ] On the subject of global warming, Ernst has stated: "I don't know the science behind climate change, I can't say one way or another what is the direct impact from whether it's manmade or not", and believes that any regulatory role by the government to address it needs to be "very small."[47][97][98] Ernst has proposed eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency and criticized its interpretation of the Clean Water Act as applied to farms.[99][90] In a Republican primary debate in May 2014, Ernst said she would have voted against the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill and stated her view that the Clean Water Act is damaging for business.[29] Ernst has expressed her opposition to cap-and-trade.[47] She supported President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords in 2017.[100]
In January 2014, Ernst warned that Agenda 21, a 1992 United Nations voluntary action plan for sustainable development, could force Iowa farmers off their land, dictate what cities Iowans must live in, and control how Iowa citizens travel from place to place.[101] During the general-election campaign, Ernst moderated her tone, saying: "I don't think that the U.N. Agenda 21 is a threat to Iowa farmers ... I think there are a lot of people [who] follow that issue in Iowa. It may be something that is very important to them, but I think Iowans are very smart and that we have a great legislature here, we have a very intelligent governor, and I think that we will protect Iowans."[101]
In June 2018, Ernst said of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, "He is about as swampy as you get here in Washington, D.C., and if the president wants to drain the swamp, he needs to take a look at his own Cabinet."[102]
In June 2019, Ernst confirmed she had spoken with President Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler when they were in Council Bluffs on limiting the EPA's issuing of small refinery waivers, saying President Trump had kept his promise but that the "EPA has a harmful habit of handing out small refinery waivers like candy '-- doing so behind closed doors, with no congressional oversight."[103]
Politico described Ernst as a "a strong supporter of the ethanol industry."[104]
Federalism [ edit ] In 2013, Ernst said Congress shouldn't bother to pass laws "that the states would consider nullifying", referring to what she describes as "200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment's states' rights."[105] Courts have consistently ruled that nullification is unconstitutional.[105] During the 2014 Senatorial general election, the Ernst campaign argued that she did not support nullification, and that "her comments on it were about encouraging Iowans to send her to Washington to pass good laws."[106]
Foreign policy [ edit ] Ernst speaking about foreign policy at a campaign appearance for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in Des Moines, Iowa
Ernst speaking to Navy Vice Admiral
Michael M. Gilday during an Armed Services Committee hearing in 2019
She opposed the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration.[91]
Regarding the Iraq War and weapons of mass destruction, Ernst stated: "We don't know that there were weapons on the ground when we went in, however, I do have reason to believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That was the intelligence that was operated on. I have reason to believe there was weapons of mass destruction. My husband served in Saudi Arabia as an Army Central Command sergeant major for a year and that's a hot-button topic in that area."[47] After criticism from Iowa Democrats and some commentators,[38][107][108] Ernst then issued a clarifying statement in which she stated that she did not mean to suggest that Iraq had WMD at the time of invasion, but rather that Iraq had had WMDs in their past which they used, and that her point was that "we don't know exactly what happened to those weapons."[109]
When asked whether she supports the limited airstrikes conducted in Iraq in August 2014, Ernst said: "What I can say is what I would have supported is leaving additional troops in Iraq longer and perhaps we wouldn't have this situation today."[110]
In February 2016, Ernst criticized the Obama administration's ISIS strategy as ineffective.[111]
In an interview with Time Magazine, Ernst said that she was sexually harassed in the military, stating that "I had comments, passes, things like that" which she was able to stop, and said she will support removing sexual assault cases from the chain of command.[112]
On February 16, 2017, Ernst condemned the behavior of Russia as "totally unacceptable" and said President Trump would be needed in leading the US to "show strength against Vladimir Putin" during a call with reporters.[113] In July 2018, Ernst stated that she would proceed with caution if the US collaborated with Russia to form "a way we can partner and put a lid on Iran" and that she did not believe " Russia would ever be a true friend or ally to the United States of America." She cited North Korea as an example of a country where the US should cautiously work with leadership to develop "a resolution where the world becomes a safer place" if possible.[114] Following the 2018 Russia-United States summit later that month, Ernst stated her hope that President Trump "delivered a strong message behind closed doors that Russia will continue to be punished for their illegal annexation of Ukraine in 2014, their abhorrent support for the murderous Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and their aggressive actions in U.S. domestic policy" and added that she was hopeful Trump had talked with Putin about the role of Russia in the Balkins amid Kosovo's continued threats by the hybrid warfare tactics of Russia in Serbia.[115]
In April 2018, following the missile strikes against Syria carried out by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, Ernst stated that she was "uncomfortable going forward" in the event that President Trump wanted to commit more American troops there, citing the US presently having "an effort to fight against ISIS in the region" as the main focus.[116] In December, after President Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops in Syria, Ernst was one of six senators to sign a letter expressing concern for the move and their belief "that such action at this time is a premature and costly mistake that not only threatens the safety and security of the United States, but also emboldens ISIS, Bashar al Assad, Iran, and Russia."[117]
In June 2018, Ernst stated her disagreement with President Trump's decision to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea and questioned why they would be suspended given their legality.[118] In July, Ernst advocated for the United States continuing military exercises in South Korea in the event that talks between the US and North Korea did not continue.[119]
In March 2018, Ernst voted to table a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required President Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda.[120] In November 2018, following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Ernst stated that Saudi Arabia was "great strategic partner" but that Congress should consider a legislative response due to the commitment of the United States to human rights and the rule of law. Ernst furthered that President Trump should become involved "if there are indicators coming from those intelligence agencies".[121] In December, Ernst warned against a resolution withdrawing American support for the Saudi Arabia-led intervention in Yemen possibly complicating peace talks in Yemen and that Saudi Arabia should be punished for Khashoggi's death but that "those consequences are I see as right now are separate from the discussion of the Saudis and their actions in Yemen engaging the Houthis."[122]
In July 2019, Ernst was one of sixteen Republican senators to send a letter to Acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin encouraging them to work with them to prevent a continuing resolution "for FY 2020 that would delay the implementation of the President's National Defense Strategy (NDS) and increase costs" and that the year long continuing resolution suggested by administration officials would render the Defense Department "incapable of increasing readiness, recapitalizing our force, or rationalizing funding to align with the National Defense Strategy (NDS)."[123]
In October 2019, Ernst was one of six senators to sign a bipartisan letter to President Trump calling on the president to "urge Turkey to end their offensive and find a way to a peaceful resolution while supporting our Kurdish partners to ensure regional stability" and opining that leaving Syria without installing protections for American allies endangers both them and the US itself.[124]
Gun control [ edit ] Ernst is a gun owner.[125] She has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA endorsed her during the 2014 election stating "In contrast to anti-gun Bruce Braley, Joni Ernst is committed to protecting the Second Amendment and will continue to oppose all attempts to ban lawfully-owned firearms and magazines. She will stand strong against President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control agenda."[126] Since 2014, Ernst has received $3,124,273 in financial support from the NRA.[127][128]
Ernst has expressed her support for allowing law-abiding citizens to "freely carry" weapons but abide by rules against carrying in public buildings like schools.[47] In February 2013, Ernst co-sponsored a resolution addressing "the Iowa General Assembly's refusal to recognize or support any statutes, presidential directives, or other regulations and proclamations which conflict with the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and which are expressly preempted by the rulings of the United States Supreme Court".[129][130] She has also received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association for her support of gun-rights issues.[131]
In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Ernst said "Our prayers are with the lives lost, those injured, and their loved ones in this senseless act of violence in Las Vegas."[127]
In October 2017, Ernst was one of ten Republican senators to sign a letter to acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) Thomas Brandon requesting that the bureau review an Obama administration decision on bump stocks with the belief "that this renewed review and determination will keep our citizens safe and ensure that federal law is enforced."[132]
Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Ernst stated that mental illness was the "root cause" for many mass shootings.[133] Ernst also was a cosponsor of the NICS Denial Notification Act,[134] legislation developed in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that would require federal authorities to inform states within a day of a prohibited person attempting to buy a firearm failing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.[135]
In January 2019, Ernst was one of thirty-one Republican senators to cosponsor the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill introduced by John Cornyn and Ted Cruz that would grant individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state the right to exercise this right in any other state with concealed carry laws while concurrently abiding by that state's laws.[136]
Healthcare [ edit ] Ernst indirectly endorsed Paul Ryan's partially privatized Medicare model in a 2011 Iowa Senate vote. According to an August 2014 article in The Gazette, she has not laid out a detailed plan for Medicare reform.[137]
Ernst supports repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) saying that it is "an additional tax of $1.2 trillion on the American people over the next decade and I believe we need to eliminate Obamacare but replace it with free market alternatives."[47] She voted for all three versions of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 that came up for the Senate during the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.[138][139][140]
In 2012, Ernst answered "Yes" when asked if she would support legislation that would "nullify ObamaCare and authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement [it]."[141][142][143]
In August 2018, Ernst was one of ten Republican senators to cosponsor a bill amending federal law to add a guarantee on the availability of health insurance to Americans including those with pre-existing conditions regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act filed by Republican-controlled states.[144]
Immigration [ edit ] In November 2015, Ernst said the U.S. should halt the immigration of Syrian refugees, calling for a "thorough vetting process", and commenting that President Obama did not have "a clearly communicated and comprehensive strategy".[145]
In June 2018, Ernst, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to United States Defense Secretary James Mattis of their being "deeply troubled by the department's decision to send twenty-one active and reserve JAGs to the border on temporary orders to prosecute immigration cases" and expressing the view that dispatching "twenty-one trial counsel from military courtrooms to prosecute immigration cases is an inappropriate misapplication of military personnel" before urging Mattis to maintain the military lawyers within the military justice system.[146]
In July 2018, Ernst was one of thirty-one Republican senators to submit a resolution endorsing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and opining that its abolition "would allow dangerous criminal aliens, including violent and ruthless members of the MS-13 gang, to remain in communities in the United States."[147]
In January 2019, during the 2018''19 United States federal government shutdown that resulted after President Trump demanded 5.7 billion toward a border wall, Ernst told reporters that she would "tend to agree that not all areas of our border need a physical barrier" and that the US would not need a barrier in areas "adequately patrolled by Border Patrol agents", with "technology to monitor those areas without having a physical barrier", and if agents could "adequately respond in a timely manner to illegal border crossing".[148]
Relationship with Steve King [ edit ] Ernst's relationship with Steve King, a House Representative known for his racist rhetoric and support for far-right politicians, has stirred controversy. In 2016 when King faced a primary challenge for his House seat, Ernst endorsed him, saying he "stands strong for life and liberty."[149][150] When King stirred controversy in 2017 by saying "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies" and by supporting European far-right politicians, Ernst said she did not condone King's behavior but she would not ask for his resignation.[151][152] In 2017, the Des Moines Register wrote a scathing editorial against King, which criticized Ernst for endorsing him in the past and not condemning him.[153][154] In 2018, she appeared with King at a rally in his district after King had endorsed a Canadian politician with neo-Nazi ties.[155] In 2019, amid extensive criticism of King by Republican politicians after King made controversial remarks about white supremacy, Ernst rebuked him.[156] The New York Times wrote that Ernst's belated distancing to King might harm her 2020 re-election efforts, as she previously "had spent years embracing Mr. King."[157] Art Cullen, editor of The Storm Lake Times, condemned the belated response by Ernst, describing it as "hypocrisy" for her to condemn him only weeks after campaigning with him and when his views had been well-known for a long time.[158] The editorial board of the Des Moines Register questioned why it took national condemnation for Ernst to rebuke King.[159]
[ edit ] Ernst has said she believes marriage is a "state issue." She co-sponsored a failed bill to amend the Iowa constitution to have marriage legally defined as between one man and one woman.[29][160] She opposes same-sex marriage.[161]
Ernst is pro-life, believing that life begins at conception.[162] She voted for a fetal personhood amendment in the Iowa Senate in 2013 and has said that she would support a federal personhood bill.[163] On October 31, 2019, Ernst voted in a 12-10 party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to send the nomination of anti-abortion attorney Sarah Pitkyk to the Senate for confirmation to the federal bench.[164][165] Pitlyk defended Iowa's six-week abortion ban, one of the earliest pre-viability bans.[165] In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, defendants' attorney Pitlyk equated hormonal birth control with abortion, arguing that providing employees birth control coverage as mandated in the Affordable Care Act requires employers to ''cooperate in the destruction of human life.'' She also repeatedly defended Planned Parenthood smear-campaign fake video producer David Daleiden. The nonpartisan American Bar Association (ABA) unanimously found Pitlyk "Not Qualified" to serve as a federal judge.[165]
When File 79 was up for a vote in the Iowa Senate, a bill that would legalize medical marijuana, Ernst expressed concerns that the drug "would ultimately end up in the hands of minors."[166]
Trade [ edit ] In 2018, as Trump imposed tariffs as part of his trade policy and other countries responded in kind, Ernst said she was willing to give the president some leeway but worried about the impact on farmers.[167] In May 2019, amid a trade war between the United States and China, Ernst said she did not like tariffs but that the "president's way of negotiating ... brings people to the table."[168] She said that Iowa farmers are "disappointed" but that they recognize "that China is the one that is forcing this."[169]
In January 2018, Ernst was one of thirty-six Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st Century.[170] In August 2018, Ernst warned that failure to finish trade deals would "reflect negatively upon our Republican candidates" and advocated for completing NAFTA and continuing to work with the European Union.[171]
In July 2019, Ernst accused Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi of "slow-walking" the passage of a North American trade agreement and stated that she believed there was enough support in the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate to ratify the agreement: "By and large, Americans think it's a good way to go."[172]
Personal life [ edit ] In 1992, Ernst (then named Joni Culver) married Gail Ernst.[173] The Ernsts have one daughter, Libby.[3][4] Gail Ernst has two daughters from his previous marriage to Ingrid Nesbit, which ended in divorce.[11][22][174] On August 27, 2018, Ernst announced that she and her husband were in the process of obtaining a divorce.[175] In a sworn affidavit, Ernst stated that she declined then-candidate Trump's offer of becoming his vice presidential candidate, because Gail "hated any successes [she] had and would belittle [her] and get angry any time [she] would achieve a goal", and that she made "sacrifices ... out of concern for Gail and [their] family."[176] Gail stated that he "gave up his aspirations" to support Ernst's pursuit of her political ambitions.[177] The divorce was finalized in January 2019, with Joni Ernst alleging that Gail had verbally and mentally abused her and on one occasion physically assaulted her. The Ernsts accused each other of infidelity; both denied the respective accusations.[178]
In her first interview following her divorce, Ernst revealed that she had been raped in college.[179]
Ernst is a lifetime member of the Montgomery County Republican Women, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2265, Montgomery County Court of Honor, Altrusa, PEO Chapter HB, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association,[180] and member of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau.[22] She is a member of the Mamrelund Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Stanton, Iowa.[14]
Electoral history [ edit ] Iowa State Senate 12th district election, 2012PartyCandidateVotes%+%RepublicanJoni Ernst22,20599.06%Write-insWrite-ins2100.93%U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Iowa, 2014PartyCandidateVotes%+%RepublicanJoni Ernst88,53556.12%RepublicanSam Clovis28,41818.01%RepublicanMark Jacobs26,52316.81%RepublicanMatt Whitaker11,8847.53%RepublicanScott Schaben2,2331.42%RepublicanWrite-ins1550.10%U.S. Senate election in Iowa, 2014PartyCandidateVotes%+%RepublicanJoni Ernst588,57552.10%DemocraticBruce Braley494,37043.76%IndependentRick Stewart26,8152.37%LibertarianDouglas Butzier8,2320.73%Term LimitsBob Quast5,8730.52%IndependentRuth Smith4,7240.42%Write-insWrite-ins1,1110.10%See also [ edit ] Women in the United States SenateAttribution of recent climate changeReferences [ edit ] ^ "4 Nov 2004, Page 6 - The Des Moines Register at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. ^ Peterson, Mike. "Schoonover named to workforce development post". KMAland.com. ^ a b Hughes, Emer (November 3, 2014). "Gail Ernst, Joni Ernst's Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". ^ a b c Rogin, Ali (July 18, 2016). "Joni Ernst: Everything You Need to Know". ABC News. ^ a b c Jacobs, Jennifer (December 1, 2015). "Joni Ernst retires from the military". The Des Moines Register . Retrieved December 3, 2015 . ^ Ernst, Gail. "Joni Kay Ernst '' Plaza of Heroines at Iowa State University" . Retrieved November 5, 2014 . ^ Jacobs, Jennifer (June 3, 2014). "Joni Ernst wins Iowa GOP U.S. Senate race". The Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on June 4, 2014 . Retrieved June 4, 2014 . ^ "Joni Ernst wins Iowa U.S. Senate seat". Des Moines Register. November 4, 2014 . Retrieved November 15, 2014 . ^ "Joni Ernst's Senate victory makes her first woman to represent Iowa in Congress". Omaha.com . Retrieved November 15, 2014 . ^ Bolton, Alexander. "McConnell reelected as leader, Thune promoted to whip". The Hill . 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Retrieved April 15, 2014 . ^ The Register's Editorial: Joni Ernst offers Iowans strong credentials "In the federal budget deficit, for example, she readily concedes that cutting federal discretionary spending won't be nearly enough and that the biggest savings must come from Medicare and Medicaid." Des Moines Register, May 17, 2014 ^ Jacobs, Jennifer (July 28, 2014). "Joni Ernst resumes campaign after 2 weeks of guard duty". Des Moines Register . Retrieved August 28, 2014 . ^ "U.S. Senate candidates Braley and Ernst agree to 3 debates". Quad City Times. ^ "Ernst cancels meeting with Register's editorial board". Des Moines Register . Retrieved October 24, 2014 . ^ "The Register's Editorial announces candidate endorsements". KCCI News. October 25, 2014 . Retrieved October 26, 2014 . ^ "Endorsement: Bruce Braley is better choice". Des Moines Register. Editorial Board. October 26, 2014 . Retrieved October 26, 2014 . ^ "Iowa Senate Election Results: Joni Ernst Wins Race Against Bruce Braley". The Huffington Post . Retrieved November 15, 2014 . ^ a b Noble, Jason (January 15, 2015). "Ernst to deliver GOP State of the Union rebuttal". The Des Moines Register . Retrieved January 15, 2015 . ^ Kim, Seung Min (January 20, 2015) '' "Joni Ernst's Response: Congress Is 'Back to Work'". POLITICO. Retrieved January 21, 2015. ^ Transcript of Republican Response to 2015 State of the Union Address The New York Times January 20, 2015 "Senator Joni Ernst, the newly elected Republican from Iowa, gave the official G.O.P. response to President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday. ^ Corey, Dan (May 5, 2016). "Sen. Ernst talks possible Vice President Run: Potential Donald Trump running mate". Des Moines: WOI TV . Retrieved May 5, 2016 . ^ Cillizza, Chris (May 3, 2016). "Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee. Here are 5 people who could be his VP". Washington Post. Washington, D.C . Retrieved May 5, 2016 . ^ Van Buren, Peter (May 2, 2016). "Could This Be Donald Trump's Vice Presidential Pick?". Huffington Post. New York . Retrieved May 2, 2016 . ^ Scott, Lauren (May 4, 2016). "Sen. Joni Ernst responds to rumors of vice president nod". Omaha: KETV . Retrieved May 5, 2016 . ^ Bacon, Jr., Perry (May 4, 2016). "Vice Presidential Picks Could Hold Clues to Strategies for Trump and Clinton". NBC news . Retrieved May 5, 2016 . ^ Noble, Jason (June 16, 2016). "Ernst: Trump 'must have his eyes set on somebody else' for VP". Des Moines Register. ^ "Donald Trump Meets With Senator Joni Ernst, a Possible Running Mate". New York Times. July 4, 2016. ^ "Donald Trump chooses Mike Pence for VP, undermining everything unique about his campaign". Vox.com. July 15, 2016 . Retrieved July 15, 2016 . ^ Barbash, Fred. "The story of Sarah Root, who Trump said was sacrificed 'on the altar of open borders ' ". Washington Post . Retrieved December 3, 2017 . ^ "Sarah's Law '' Named for Iowan Sarah Root '' Passes U.S. House as Part of Immigration Enforcement Measure". grassley.senate.gov. June 29, 2017 . Retrieved December 3, 2017 . ^ Danielson, Dar (January 12, 2017). "Senator Ernst questions nominee for Secretary of Defense". Radioiowa.com. ^ "Sen. Joni Ernst promises legislation to strip Planned Parenthood funding". The Washington Post. January 27, 2017. ^ Dinan, Stephen (April 13, 2017). "Trump Gives States Power to Cut off Planned Parenthood Money". washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times . Retrieved April 13, 2017 . ^ Danielson, Dar (February 2, 2017). "Senator Ernst talks about education nominee, Democrat 'obstruction ' ". Radio Iowa. ^ Koss, Emily (February 7, 2017). "Senator Joni Ernst Explains Support of Betsy DeVos". whotv.com. ^ Henderson, O. Kay. "Ernst: 'absolutely no excuse' for posting naked photos of female Marines". Radio Iowa. ^ "Sen. Ernst calls for bill to protect athletes from sexual abuse". kwwl.com. March 28, 2017. ^ "Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel". The Hill. January 3, 2019. ^ Opsahl, Robin (March 25, 2019). "Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst call for a full release of the Mueller report findings". Des Moines Register. ^ a b c Levine, Marianne. "One of the GOP's brightest female stars is dogged by Trump in 2020". POLITICO . Retrieved May 18, 2019 . ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight . Retrieved January 20, 2020 . ^ "U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls on Trump Administration to Implement Farm Bill Dairy Improvements for Wisconsin Dairy Farmers". urbamilwaukee.com. April 1, 2019. ^ "Senators Urge Department-Wide USDA Initiative to Prioritize Farm Bill Water Quality Improvements". hoosieragtoday.com. April 17, 2019. ^ Bechtel, Wyatt (May 1, 2019). "Senators Reintroduce Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act". dailyherd.com. ^ a b Shiner, Meredith (July 8, 2014). "Joni Ernst seeks to walk back talk of impeaching Obama". Yahoo! News. ^ Shinner, Meredith. "Joni Ernst: 'Impeachment' of Obama should be on the table". Yahoo News . Retrieved August 16, 2014 . ^ Nebbe, Charity; Katherine Perkins (June 1, 2014). "Candidate Profile: Joni Ernst". Iowa Public Radio. ^ Skipper, John (August 25, 2014). "Ernst: Let states set minimum wage". Mason City Globe-Gazette . Retrieved September 30, 2014 . ^ O'Connor, Molly (August 1, 2014). "U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst does not support a national minimum wage, says her opponent". PolitiFact. ^ Tibbetts, Ed (February 18, 2014). "Report: Minimum wage boost would cost jobs, lower poverty". The Quad-City Times. ^ a b c "Does Joni Ernst want to abolish the Education Department and the EPA?". PolitiFact. ^ a b "Ernst, Payton speak at local GOP meeting". Newton Daily News. November 27, 2013 . Retrieved April 10, 2014 . ^ "How they voted: Iowa's GOP members of Congress vote 'yes' on tax overhaul". Des Moines Register . Retrieved May 18, 2019 . ^ "Factcheck.org: Democrats misrepresent Joni Ernst's position on Social Security". The Des Moines Register . Retrieved October 25, 2014 . ^ "GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back $15 billion in spending". The Hill. May 25, 2018. ^ "On the Nomination (Confirmation Kathleen Laura Kraninger, of Ohio, to be Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection )". Roll Call Vote 115th Congress - 2nd Session. United States Senate . Retrieved February 6, 2019 . ^ "Ernst calls for elimination of IRS, Dept. of Education and EPA". Iowa Public Television . Retrieved August 29, 2014 . ^ Hohmann, James (September 28, 2014). "Bruce Braley, Joni Ernst tear into each other". Politico. ^ Masters, Clay (September 29, 2014). "Braley, Ernst Differ in First U.S. Senate Debate". Iowa Public Radio. ^ Tibbetts, Ed (August 12, 2014). "Ernst takes on EPA Clean Water Act plan". Sioux City Journal. ^ writer, Robynn Tysver / World-Herald staff. "Iowa and Nebraska lawmakers stand by Trump on Paris climate accord". Omaha.com . Retrieved December 23, 2018 . ^ a b Shiner, Meredith (August 13, 2014). "Will Joni Ernst's flirtations with the political fringe haunt her in November?". Yahoo News. ^ "GOP senator says Pruitt is 'as swampy as you get ' ". The Hill. June 5, 2018. ^ "Sen. Joni Ernst pushing to rein in renewable fuel refinery exemptions". The Gazette. June 20, 2019. ^ Wolff, Eric. "Pruitt 'is about as swampy as you get,' Republican senator says". POLITICO . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ a b Levy, Gabrielle (July 28, 2014). "Iowa GOP nominee says states can nullify federal laws". United Press International . Retrieved July 29, 2014 . ^ Jacobs, Jennifer (July 30, 2014). "Ernst campaign says she doesn't support nullification". Des Moines Register. ^ David Weigel (May 12, 2014). "The Iowa Republican Senator-to-Be Who Thinks Iraq Had WMD". Slate . Retrieved May 14, 2014 . ^ Cameron Joseph (May 12, 2014). "Iowa Republican still believes Iraq had WMDs". The Hill . Retrieved May 14, 2014 . ^ Jennifer Jacobs (May 13, 2014). "Ernst seeks to clarify remark on Iraq WMDs". Des Moines Register . Retrieved May 15, 2014 . ^ Zeleny, Jeff. "Joni Ernst, From Obscure Iowa Legislator to Potential Role Model for Future GOP Candidates". ABC News. ^ Harkness, Kelsey (February 3, 2016). "Sen. Joni Ernst Calls for Strategy to Fight ISIS 'No Matter Where They Are ' ". The Daily Signal. ^ Newton-Small, Jay. "Ernst Says She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military". Time . Retrieved August 17, 2014 . ^ Noble, Jason (February 16, 2017). "Sen. Ernst: Trump must 'step up' and lead opposition to Russia". Des Moines Register. ^ "Sen. Joni Ernst: Russia will never "be a true friend" to the U.S." CBS News. July 8, 2018. ^ "Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley criticizes Trump, saying 'Putin isn't a friend to the United States ' ". Des Moines Register. ^ "GOP senator uncomfortable with ground troops in Syria". The Hill. April 15, 2018. ^ "Senators call on Trump administration to reconsider Syria withdrawal". The Hill. December 19, 2018. ^ "GOP senator questions suspension of joint military exercises with South Korea". The Hill. June 12, 2018. ^ "GOP senator: US should continue military exercises with South Korea if North Korea talks break down". The Hill. July 8, 2018. ^ "Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support". The Hill. March 20, 2018. ^ "More Republicans challenge Trump on defense of Saudi crown prince". Washington Post. November 25, 2018. ^ Morin, Rebecca. "Ernst warns resolution to punish Saudis could hurt Yemen peace talks". Politico. ^ "Marsha Blackburn, David Perdue, Colleagues Encourage Trump Administration to Avoid Another Continuing Resolution". clarksvilleonline.com. July 6, 2019. ^ "Doug Jones joins bipartisan group of senators in urging Trump to rethink Syria policy". al.com. October 17, 2019. ^ Waldman, Paul. "The real problem with Joni Ernst's quote about guns and the government". Washington Post . Retrieved October 4, 2017 . ^ "Vote Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate in Iowa". NRA-PVF . Retrieved October 4, 2017 . ^ a b Hiltzik, Michael (October 3, 2017). " ' Thoughts and prayers' '-- and fistfuls of NRA money: Why America can't control guns". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved October 4, 2017 . ^ Leonhardt, David; Philbrick, Ian Prasad; Thompson, Stuart A. (October 4, 2017). "The Congress Members Receiving the Most N.R.A. Funding". The New York Times . Retrieved October 5, 2017 . ^ Bobic, Igor (July 29, 2014). "Joni Ernst Has A History Of Advocating Nullification Of Federal Laws". The Huffington Post . Retrieved July 30, 2014 . ^ "Senate Joint Resolution SJR7". The Iowa Legislature . Retrieved July 30, 2014 . ^ "Sirens sound across Iowa as Sarah Palin endorses Joni Ernst". The Des Moines Register. March 26, 2014 . Retrieved April 16, 2014 . ^ "GOP senators want review of Obama-era decision on bump stocks". The Hill. October 6, 2017. ^ Carros, Adam (February 16, 2018). "Grassley, Ernst deflect criticism of gun, mental health bill". KCCI. ^ Gaudiano, Nicole (March 5, 2018). "School safety bill introduced by bipartisan senators in response to Florida shooting". wfmynews2.com. ^ "Collins-backed push to keep criminals from guns progresses". seacoastonline.com. March 10, 2018. ^ "Sens. Cruz, Cornyn file Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Bill". kcbd.com. January 10, 2019. ^ "Fact Check: Ernst on Medicare". The Gazette . Retrieved August 31, 2014 . Ernst has presented privatized models for social security reform and indirectly endorsed Paul Ryan's privatized Medicare model with her 2011 vote. ^ Parlapiano, Alicia; Andrews, Wilson; Lee, Jasmine C.; Shorey, Rachel (July 25, 2017). "How Each Senator Voted on Obamacare Repeal Proposals". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ "Progressives rally at Iowa Capitol to preserve Obamacare". Des Moines Register . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ "Grassley and Ernst, who voted for ill-fated Obamacare repeal bills, aren't surrendering". Des Moines Register . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ "EXCLUSIVE: GOPer Ernst Backed Arresting Feds Over Obamacare In 2012 Survey". Talking Points Memo. October 3, 2014 . Retrieved October 3, 2014 . ^ "Conservative group: Ernst backed arresting feds over Obamacare". MSNBC. October 3, 2014 . Retrieved October 3, 2014 . ^ "Iowa State Legislative Candidates survey". Campaign for Liberty . Retrieved October 4, 2014 . ^ "GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections". The Hill. August 24, 2018. ^ Kirkpatrick, Alex (November 18, 2015). "Sen. Joni Ernst calls for 'pause' on Syrian refugee arrivals". kcci.com. ^ Kheel, Rebecca (June 22, 2018). "Senators 'deeply troubled' military lawyers being used for immigration cases". The Hill. ^ Carney, Jordain (July 12, 2018). "GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE". The Hill. ^ Leys, Tony (January 10, 2019). "Sen. Joni Ernst: A wall is unnecessary along parts of U.S.-Mexico border". Des Moines Register. ^ Lynch, James Q. "Joni Ernst endorses Steve King in Iowa 4th District". The Gazette . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ Kilgore, Ed (January 14, 2019). "Republicans Have Tolerated Steve King's Racism for a Long Time". Seattle Post-Intelligencer . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ Everett, Burgess. "Ernst declines to ask for King's resignation over 'babies' tweet". POLITICO . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ Greenwood, Max (March 18, 2017). "Ernst declines to ask for King to resign after 'babies' tweet". TheHill . Retrieved December 22, 2018 . ^ "The Des Moines Register just went off on Steve King". The Washington Post. 2018. ^ "Editorial: GOP needs to oppose King's re-election, not just King's words". Des Moines Register . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ Gabriel, Trip (January 11, 2019). "Steve King's White Supremacy Remark Is Rebuked by Iowa's Republican Senators". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ Gabriel, Trip; Martin, Jonathan; Fandos, Nicholas (January 14, 2019). "Steve King Removed From Committee Assignments Over White Supremacy Remark". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ Gabriel, Trip (January 17, 2019). "Steve King Still Has Backing in Iowa, but Even Supporters Say 'He's Done ' ". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ Cullen, Art (January 15, 2019). "The epic hypocrisy of Republicans' sudden distaste for Steve King | Art Cullen". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077 . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ "Why did it take national condemnation for Grassley, Ernst, Reynolds to call out King?". Des Moines Register . Retrieved February 18, 2019 . ^ "The Iowa Legislature Bill Book" . Retrieved September 30, 2014 . ^ Campus Election Engagement Project (October 17, 2014). "Bruce Braley vs. Joni Ernst Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For Iowa Senate Race 2014". The Huffington Post . Retrieved October 23, 2014 . ^ "Issues". Joni Ernst for Iowa . Retrieved September 30, 2014 . ^ Bassett, Laura (October 16, 2014). "Senate Candidate Joni Ernst Endorses Federal Personhood Bill For Fetuses". The Huffington Post . Retrieved October 17, 2014 . ^ Result of Executive Business Meeting, Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting], October 31, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2019. ^ a b c This Kavanaugh Defender and Abortion Foe Could End Up on the Federal Bench, Rewire News, Jessica Mason Pieklo, October 24, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019. ^ Petroski, William (March 4, 2013). "Medical marijuana bill goes up in smoke inside Iowa Senate". The Des Moines Register . Retrieved October 23, 2014 . ^ Everett, Burgess. " ' Like a Soviet-type economy': GOP free traders unload on Trump". POLITICO . Retrieved December 23, 2018 . ^ "The Finance 202: Farmers are bracing for more tariff pain. But they're sticking with Trump -- for now". The Washington Post. 2019. ^ Everett, Burgess; Levine, Marianne. "Republicans surrender to Trump's China tariffs". POLITICO . Retrieved May 18, 2019 . ^ Needham, Vicki. "Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA". The Hill. ^ Ebert, Joel (August 24, 2018). "At Blackburn event, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst stresses trade deals need to be settled before November". Tennessean.com. ^ Lynch, James Q. (July 3, 2019). "Iowa senators optimistic on North American trade deal". The Gazette. ^ "Shafter, William Rufus, (16 Oct. 1835''12 Nov. 1906), Major-General United States Volunteers; Brigadier-General, United States Army; retired as Major-General, 30 June 1901, by Act of Congress", Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, December 1, 2007, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u190836 ^ "Does Joni Ernst Support Traditional Divorce?". Daily Kos. ^ Tully-McManus, Katherine; Tully-McManus, Katherine (August 28, 2018). "Sen. Joni Ernst, Husband Divorcing" '' via www.rollcall.com. ^ Jacobs, Ben (January 22, 2019). "Joni Ernst says she turned down chance to be Donald Trump's vice-president" '' via www.theguardian.com. ^ Morin, Rebecca. "Ernst says she turned down Trump VP job". Politico . Retrieved January 22, 2019 . ^ Nozicka, Luke; Ta, Linh (January 22, 2019). "Divorce filing: U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst says her husband physically attacked her". Des Moines Register . Retrieved January 22, 2019 . ^ Jacobs, Jennifer (January 23, 2019). "Republican Senator Joni Ernst Says She Was Raped in College". Bloomberg News. ^ "Joni Ernst: Gun will defend her against government". MSNBC. October 23, 2014. External links [ edit ] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joni Ernst .Senator Joni Ernst official U.S. Senate websiteJoni Ernst for U.S. Senate campaign websiteJoni Ernst at CurlieBiography at the Biographical Directory of the United States CongressProfile at Vote SmartFinancial information (federal office) at the Federal Election CommissionLegislation sponsored at the Library of CongressAppearances on C-SPAN
VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. | HHS.gov
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 10:43
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Dr. Jerome Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. His mission as the ''Nation's Doctor,'' is to advance the health of the American people. Dr. Adams' motto as Surgeon General is ''better health through better partnerships.'' He is committed to strengthening relationships with all members of the health community, and forging new partnerships with members from the business, faith, education and public safety and national security communities.
As the Surgeon General, Dr. Adams holds the rank of Vice Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. In this capacity, he oversees the operations of approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in nearly 800 locations around the world, promoting, protecting, and advancing the health and safety of our nation.
During his tenure as Surgeon General, Dr. Adams has created several initiatives to tackle our nation's most pressing health issues, including: the opioid epidemic, oral health, and the links between community health and both economic prosperity and national security. In response to the opioid epidemic, Dr. Adams issued the first Surgeon General's Advisory in thirteen years, urging more Americas to carry naloxone, an FDA-approved medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Dr. Adams also released Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Spotlight on Opioids, and a digital postcard calling for a cultural shift in the way Americans think about, talk about, and respond to the opioid crisis. His Surgeon General's postcard recommends actions that can prevent and treat opioid misuse, and promote recovery. Additionally, Dr. Adams is focused on building a culture of health and prevention in all sectors. As part of those efforts, Dr. Adams has commissioned a Surgeon General's Report to explore the connection between private sector investments and public policies leading to healthier communities and advancing business and community prosperity.
Dr. Adams received bachelor's degrees in both biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine.
He has been a leader in numerous professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists. Dr. Adams is also the former Health Commissioner of Indiana, where he led the State's responses to Ebola, Zika, and to the largest ever HIV outbreak in the United States related to injection drug use.
Dr. Adams has pledged to lead with science, and facilitate locally led solutions to the nation's most difficult health problems. He also feels his toughest, but most important job, is being a father to two teenage boys, Caden and Eli, daughter, Millie, and dog Bella.
Content created by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) Content last reviewed on April 30, 2018
Trump and Netanyahu Dictate Terms of Palestinian Surrender to Israel and Call It Peace
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 09:31
Flanked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but no Palestinian leader, President Donald Trump unveiled ''a vision for peace'' in the Middle East on Tuesday which permits Israel to annex much of the occupied West Bank immediately, offering the Palestinians only local control in isolated Bantustans surrounded by Israeli territory.
As many Israeli political observers noted, the timing of the announcement, just hours after Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges in Jerusalem, looked like an effort to boost the prime minister's bid to win reelection in March, his best hope for avoiding prison.
A US President facing impeachment and an Israeli Prime Minister indicted for corruption, leading an interim minority government, are about to announce a plan to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, without any Palestinian present. Unbelievable farce.
'-- Anshel Pfeffer (@AnshelPfeffer) January 28, 2020The release of the 180-page plan '-- which was drafted by aides to Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and an old family friend of Netanyahu '-- was staged as a celebration, and acted as a dual campaign rally, with the American president and the Israeli prime minister boasting of all they had achieved for Israel to a room filled with far-right supporters of the Jewish state, including Sheldon Adelson, the Republican and Likud megadonor who spent millions of dollars to elect both leaders.
Trump, who intervened in a previous Israeli election campaign on Netanyahu's behalf '-- by recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights last year '-- gave the embattled prime minister a podium at the White House to detail conditions imposed on the Palestinians which sounded like terms of surrender.
To start with, Netanyahu said, the Palestinians would be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, cede the entire Jordan Valley, disarm Hamas, and abandon the hope for both the return of refugees who fled homes in what is now Israel and for a capital in Jerusalem's Old City.
''Your peace plan offers the Palestinians a pathway to a future state,'' Netanyahu told Trump. ''I know that it may take them a very long time to reach the end of that path; it may even take them a very long time to get to the beginning of that path,'' he added.
In fact, as the Crisis Group analyst Tareq Baconi observed, ''The plan sets out parameters that are impossible for Palestinians to accept, and effectively provides Israel with a blueprint to sustain the one-state reality that exists on the ground.''
That sentiment was echoed by Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of B'Tselem, an Israeli rights group that monitors the occupation. ''What the Palestinians are being 'offered' now is not rights or a state, but a permanent state of Apartheid. No amount of marketing can erase this disgrace or blur the facts,'' El-Ad wrote. ''The reality on the ground is already one of full Israeli control over the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and everyone living in it. It is a reality of one, inherently undemocratic, state.''
The plan was rejected by Palestinian rights activists in the region and abroad.
Netanyahu logic: If Palestinians agree to land theft, annexation, no refugee return, subjugation and no means of defense, Israel will negotiate with us.
'-- Diana Buttu (@dianabuttu) January 28, 2020The US is a colonial state trying to broker a "solution" which favors another settler-colonial state. The only message is, commit enough massacres, create enough judicial procedures, create enough diplomatic jargon, and all is allowed. #Palestine #TrumpDeal
'-- ???? ???????? (@MariamBarghouti) January 28, 2020''An impeached and bigoted President works in tandem with a criminally indicted and racist Prime Minister to perpetuate the reality of apartheid and subjugation,'' Jamil Dakwar, a Palestinian-American who was born in Haifa and now leads the ACLU's human rights program, wrote on Twitter. ''Palestinians will not be coerced to give up their human rights to live as free and equal human beings.''
Saeb Erakat, the chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, described the plan delivered by Kushner to Trump as ''100 percent the ideas I personally heard many times from Netanyahu and his negotiators. I can assure you that the American so-called peace team have only copied and pasted Netanyahu's and the settlers' councils plan.''
Speaking in Ramallah, at a rare gathering of leaders of the major Palestinian factions, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the proposal was not ''the deal of the century,'' as Trump and the Israelis described it, but ''the slap of the century.''
''Trump, Jerusalem is not for sale. Our rights are not for sale. Your conspiracy deal will not pass,'' Abbas said, in comments reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
While Trump said that Palestinians could eventually have a capital in Jerusalem, the plan suggested that this would be outside of the city, in a neighborhood close to, but not in the city, as the Telegraph correspondent Raf Sanchez pointed out.
IMPORTANT: the detail plan of the plan confirms that Palestinians will not get any part of Jerusalem inside the security barrier.That means they get a few far-flung eastern neighbourhoods as their capital but none of the Old City or areas where most East Jerusalemites live. pic.twitter.com/ZL6AJVJ565
'-- Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) January 28, 2020Within hours of the plan's release, Netanyahu said that his government would move on Sunday to formally annex the 131 Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank, all of which are illegal under international law, as well as the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea. The plan's map of the newly expanded Greater Israel, and the fragmented Palestinian enclaves, were shared on Twitter by Trump.
In his remarks, Trump said that Netanyahu had ''authorized the release of a conceptual map'' showing the contours of the land to be annexed, and their two governments would soon form a joint committee ''to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved.''
Because the Israeli settlement blocs, which are home to more than 400,000 settlers, are stitched together with a network of roads and checkpoints that restrict the freedom of movement of Palestinians, the territory Trump said his plan ''allocated'' for a future Palestinian state would exist only as a series of enclaves inside Israel.
As Ben Silverstein of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington, explained, the ''conceptual map'' included in the plan gave an ''appearance of contiguity'' that facts on the ground would make impossible.
This map is verrrrry generously shaded to give appearance of contiguity.100% final map will appear closer to archipelago map on the right. pic.twitter.com/pLcaWak4R2
'-- Ben Silverstein (@bensilverstein) January 28, 2020Yousef Munayyer, who directs the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, noted on Twitter that the reality would look a lot more like what the French illustrator Julien Bousac sketched out more than a decade ago for Le Monde Diplomatique to show the impossibility of a functioning state compromised of enclaves.
Daniel Seidemann, director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, pointed out that previous administrations had privately accepted the erosion of Palestinian hopes for a contiguous state.
Perspective, for those who think this started with Trump.This is a slide/map, I presented to a senior official in the Obama White House. His chilling response: you're probably right, but the sun still will rise, birds sing, and life will go on.
Sound familiar? Look familiar? pic.twitter.com/mJ2ZQPzgef
'-- Daniel Seidemann (@DanielSeidemann) January 28, 2020Shibley Telhami, a scholar of the region at the University of Maryland, pointed to another disturbing detail of the plan: a provision to further ethnically cleanse Israel by revoking the citizenship of Palestinians living in one section of the state, and forcing that region to merge with those parts of the West Bank not annexed by Israel.
One shocking feature of Trump's "American" plan is that Israel would carve out Israeli-Arab towns in the "Triangle" region, strip them of Israeli citizenship, and place them under Palestinian jurisdiction -- something majorities oppose. Un-American Plan. https://t.co/eQNFzRLvdG pic.twitter.com/bn143hVSRr
'-- Shibley Telhami (@ShibleyTelhami) January 28, 2020Trump's plan was denounced by both Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, among the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump for the presidency. While Sanders called the plan ''unacceptable,'' Warren went further, promising to ''oppose unilateral annexation in any form '-- and reverse any policy that supports it.''
Trump's "peace plan" is a rubber stamp for annexation and offers no chance for a real Palestinian state. Releasing a plan without negotiating with Palestinians isn't diplomacy, it's a sham. I will oppose unilateral annexation in any form'--and reverse any policy that supports it.
'-- Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 28, 2020It must end the Israeli occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination in an independent state of their own alongside a secure Israel. Trump's so-called 'peace deal' doesn't come close, and will only perpetuate the conflict. It is unacceptable.
'-- Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 28, 2020Former Vice President Joe Biden, a staunch defender of Netanyahu who reportedly frustrated Obama administration efforts to confront him over the occupation, did not immediately comment on the plan.
Politico reported on Tuesday that The Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel super PAC led by the Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, plans to run an attack ad in Iowa this week ''that raises concerns about Bernie Sanders' 2019 heart attack and calls him too liberal to beat President Donald Trump.''
As I reported earlier this year, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the conservative pro-Israel lobbying group known as AIPAC, paid for a pressure campaign on Facebook targeting Sanders, who would be the first Jewish president of the United States, but has expressed concern for Palestinian rights and described Netanyahu as ''a racist.''
Eye Movements When Lying: How Your Eyes Betray Your Lies '' Learning Mind
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 09:11
Can your eye movements reveal whether you are telling the truth or not? Some body language experts believe a person exhibits certain eye movements when lying, but others disagree.It is generally accepted that the left side of our brain is associated with logic and our right side with creativity. Therefore anyone who looks left is using their logical side and those who look right are accessing a creative side. This premise has translated into logic = truth whereas creativity = lying. This association between eye movements when lying first came about with the emergence of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in 1972.
NLP founders John Grinder and Richard Bandler mapped out a 'standard eye movement' chart (Eye Accessing Cues). This chart depicted where our eyes move in relation to our thoughts.
When we are thinking, our eyes move as the brain accesses information. Information is stored in the brain in four different ways:
VisuallyAuditorallyKinaestheticallyInternal dialogueDepending on which of these four ways we access this information will dictate where our eyes move.
Up and Right: Visually rememberingUp and Left: Visually constructingRight: Auditorally rememberingLeft: Auditorally constructingDown and Right: Internal dialogueDown and Left: Kinaesthetic rememberingEye movements when lying in more detail:Up and RightIf someone asked you to remember your wedding dress or the first house you purchased, moving your eyes up and to the right accesses the visual remembering part of the brain.
Up and to the LeftImagine a pig flying across the sky or cows with pink spots on them. Then your eyes would move up and to the left as you are visually constructing these images.
RightIn order to remember your favourite song, your eyes should move to the right as it accesses the auditory remembering part of your brain.
LeftIf you were asked to imagine the lowest bass note you can think of, your eyes would move to the left as it tried to auditorily construct this sound.
Down and RightAsked if you can remember the smell of cut grass or a bonfire, or the taste of their favourite beer, people's eyes will typically move down and right as they recall that smell.
Down and LeftThis is the direction your eyes move when you are talking to yourself or engaging in internal dialogue.
So how does this knowledge of eye movement help us in detecting someone who is lying?Now we know what to look for regarding eye movements when lying. If you ask someone a question, we can follow their eye movements and tell if someone is lying or not.
So a typically normal right-handed person should look to the left if they are recalling actual events, memories, sounds and feelings. If they are lying, their eyes will look to the right, the creative side.
For example, you asked your partner if they stayed late at the office the previous night. If they answered ''Yes, of course, I did,'' and looked up and to the left, you would know they were telling the truth.
These eye movements and lying work with a normal right-handed person. Left-handed people will have opposite meanings for their eye movements.
Can you really tell if a person is lying simply by their eye movements?There are some experts, however, who do not think eye movements and lying are connected. A study was conducted at the University of Hertfordshire. Volunteers were filmed and their eye movements were recorded as they either told the truth or lied. Another group of volunteers then watched the film of the first and was asked to see if they could detect who was lying and who was telling the truth. Simply by watching their eye movements.
Prof Wiseman, a psychologist who ran the study said: ''The results of the first study revealed no relationship between lying and eye movements, and the second showed that telling people about the claims made by NLP practitioners did not improve their lie detection skills.''
Further studies into eye movements and lying involved reviewing press conferences where people appealed for help with regard to missing relatives. They also studied the films of press releases where people claimed to be the victims of crimes. In some of the films, the person was lying and in other they were telling the truth. After analysing both films, no evidence of an association between eye movements and lying was detected.
Co-author of the study '' Dr. Caroline Watt, from the University of Edinburgh, said: ''A large percentage of the public believes that certain eye movements are a sign of lying, and this idea is even taught in organisational training courses.''
Dr. Watt believes that now is the time to discard this method of thinking and focus attention on other means of detecting liars.
Closing thoughtsDespite the above-described study debunked this method, many still believe that a person has certain eye movements when lying. However, most experts think that detecting lying is far more complicated than eye movement.
Wiseman agrees: ''There are some actual cues that might indicate lying'--such as being static or talking less or dropping in terms of emotionality, but I don't think there's any reason to keep holding onto this idea about eye movement.''
References:
www.nlpu.comwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.govImage source: imgur.com
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How a vegan diet could affect your intelligence - BBC Future
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:48
It was the late 1880s in the city of Rajkot, India. The meeting was to take place on the banks of the local river '' and discretion was essential. Mahatma Gandhi, who was just a teenager at the time, hadn't told his parents where he was going; if they had found out, they would have been shocked to death.
As it happens, Gandhi was having a picnic. And on this occasion, India's future national hero '' and one of the most famous vegetarians in history '' wasn't planning to dine on cucumber sandwiches. No, for the first time in his life, he was going to eat meat.
As he later wrote in his biography, Gandhi was raised as a strict Vaishnava Hindu, so he had never even seen meat before this fateful day. But his picnic companion was a shady character with an unusual obsession '' the idea that meat held the key to being physically and mentally strong.
In the end, Gandhi braved the meat. It was as tough as leather.
More stories on The Vegan Factor from BBC Good Food
Is going vegan better for the planet?Vegan takeaway recipesThe idea that avoiding meat is bad for our brains makes some intuitive sense; anthropologists have been arguing about what our ancestors ate for decades, but many scientists think that there was a lot of bone-crunching and brain-slurping on the road to evolving these remarkable 1.4kg (3lb) organs. Some have even gone so far as to say that meat made us human.
One reason is that intelligence is expensive '' the brain devours about 20% of our daily calories, though it accounts for just 2% of our body weight '' and what better way to find the enormous array of fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals these fastidious organs require, than by feasting on animals which have already painstakingly collected or made them.
Mahatma Gandhi, India's pioneering independence leader, even toyed with eating meat despite his vegetarian beliefs (Credit: Getty Images)
But though it's hard to imagine our ancestors choosing turnips over tuna, today it's a different story. According to the latest statistics, there are around 375 million vegetarians on the planet. In the West, veganism has ditched the hippie stigma to become one of the fastest-growing millennial trends; in the United States, it grew by 600% between 2014 and 2017. Meanwhile in India, meat-free diets have been mainstream since the 6th Century BCE.
On the one hand, recent concern about the nutritional gaps in plant-based diets has led to a number of alarming headlines, including a warning that they can stunt brain development and cause irreversible damage to a person's nervous system. Back in 2016, the German Society for Nutrition went so far as to categorically state that '' for children, pregnant or nursing women, and adolescents '' vegan diets are not recommended, which has been backed up by a 2018 review of the research. In Belgium, forcing a vegan diet on your offspring could land you a spell in prison.
But on the other, if abstaining from meat had any real impact on our brains, you would think that we would already have noticed. So is it really damaging our intellects, or is this all just fear of the unknown?
Ideally, to test the impact of the vegan diet on the brain, you would take a randomly selected group of people, ask half to stop eating animal products '' then see what happens. But there isn't a single study like this.
Instead, the only research that comes close involved the reverse. It was conducted on 555 Kenyan schoolchildren, who were fed one of three different types of soup '' one with meat, one with milk, and one with oil '' or no soup at all, as a snack over seven school terms. They were tested before and after, to see how their intelligence compared. Because of their economic circumstances, the majority of the children were de facto vegetarians at the start of the study.
Surprisingly, the children who were given the soup containing meat each day seemed to have a significant edge. By the end of the study, they outperformed all the other children on a test for non-verbal reasoning. Along with the children who received soup with added oil, they also did the best on a test of arithmetic ability. Of course, more research is needed to verify if this effect is real, and if it would also apply to adults in developed countries, too. But it does raise intriguing questions about whether veganism could be holding some people back.
In fact, there are several important brain nutrients that simply do not exist in plants or fungi. Creatine, carnosine, taurine, omega-3, haem iron and vitamins B12 and D3 generally only occur naturally in foods derived from animal products, though they can be synthesised in the lab or extracted from non-animal sources such as algae, bacteria or lichen, and added to supplements.
Others are found in vegan foods, but only in meagre amounts; to get the minimum amount of vitamin B6 required each day (1.3 mg) from one of the richest plant sources, potatoes, you'd have to eat about five cups' worth (equivalent to roughly 750g or 1.6lb). Delicious, but not particularly practical.
To get your daily requirement of vitamin b6, you would need to eat around 1.5lbs of potatoes (Credit: Getty Images)
And though the body can make some of these vital brain compounds from other ingredients in our diets, this ability isn't usually enough to make up for these dietary cracks. For all of the nutrients listed above, vegetarians and vegans have been shown to have lower quantities in their bodies. In some cases, deficiency isn't the exception '' it's completely normal.
For now, the impact these shortcomings are having on the lives of vegans is largely a mystery. But a trickle of recent studies have provided some clues '' and they make for unsettling reading.
''I think there are some real repercussions to the fact that plant-based diets are taking off,'' says Taylor Wallace, a food scientist and CEO of the nutrition consulting firm Think Healthy Group. ''It's not that plant-based is inherently bad, but I don't think we're educating people enough on, you know, the nutrients that are mostly derived from animal products.''
One of the most well-known challenges for vegans is getting enough vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products like eggs and meat. Other species acquire it from bacteria which live in their digestive tracts or faeces; they either absorb it directly or ingest it by snacking on their own poo, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) humans can't do either.
To see how crucial B12 is for the brain, take what happens when we don't get enough of it. In children, the consequences of B12 deficiency can be life-altering. ''There are some tragic cases of children whose brains failed to develop because of their parents being ill-informed vegans,'' says Benton. In one example, the child was unable to sit or smile. In another, they slipped into a coma.
Later in life, the amount of B12 in a person's blood has been directly correlated with their IQ. In the elderly, one study found that the brains of those with lower B12 were six times more likely to be shrinking.
Even so, low B12 is widespread in vegans. One British study found that half of the vegans in their sample were deficient. In some parts of India, the problem is endemic '' possibly as a consequence of the popularity of meat-free diets.
Another nutrient that's scarce in the typical vegan diet is iron. Though we often associate it with blood, iron also plays prominent role in brain development, and is essential for keeping the organ healthy throughout our lives. For example, one 2007 study found that giving young women iron supplements led to significant intellectual gains. In those whose blood iron levels increased over the course of the study, their performance on a cognitive test improved between five- and seven-fold, while participants whose haemoglobin levels went up experienced gains in their processing speed.
It is important for vegans to take supplements to replace the essential elements found in animal products, experts say (Credit: Getty Images)
It's surprisingly easy to slip into iron deficiency, even though it makes up 80% of the inner mass of the planet we live on. Up to two billion people are thought to have a shortage of the element worldwide, making it the most common nutritional inadequacy. Vegans are particularly prone, because the form that's most readily absorbed by the body is ''haem iron'', which is only found in animal proteins. One German study found that 40% of the vegans they looked at were consuming less than the recommended daily amount.
Other common deficiencies among vegans include D3, omega-3, selenium, folate and iodine. Though the body can make D3 when the skin is exposed to sunshine, this doesn't make up for the extra that vegans are missing from their diets. In the winter months, when the sun is weaker, omnivores living in the UK have nearly 40% more vitamin D3 in their blood than vegans.
Of course, some of these things can easily be acquired from supplements. But others are so obscure, vegans are unlikely to have even heard of them '' let alone realise they could be missing out.
One example is taurine. This enigmatic amino acid is one of the most plentiful in the human brain, where it's thought to underpin several important processes, such as regulating the number of neurons. It's often added to caffeinated energy drinks, because of the (possibly mistaken) belief that it can provide an immediate cognitive boost.
Though there are small amounts of taurine in some dairy products, the main dietary sources are meat and seafood. ''Some species have the ability to make all the taurine they need,'' says Jang-Yen Wu, a biomedical scientist at Florida Atlantic University. ''But humans have a very limited capacity to do this.''
For this reason, vegans tend to have less taurine in their bodies. No one has looked into how this might be affecting their cognitive abilities yet, but based on what we know about its role in the brain, Wu says vegans should be taking taurine tablets. ''People can become deficient when they restrict their diets, because vegetables have no taurine content,'' he says.
In fact, the holes in our current understanding of what the brain needs to be healthy could potentially be a major problem for vegans, since it's hard to artificially add a nutrient to your diet, if scientists haven't discovered its worth yet.
It's hard to artificially add a nutrient to your diet, if scientists haven't discovered its worth yet (Credit: Getty Images)
''There are so many unknowns,'' says Nathan Cofnas, a biologist from Oxford University. ''And when you deviate from the typical diet for your species, to one which has not been tested and properly established to be healthy or good for the brain, you are conducting an experiment and you are taking a risk.''
Take choline: in the brain, it's used to make acetylcholine, which is involved in a number of tasks, including relaying messages between nerve cells. It's fundamental to our ability to think '' even insects have it in their tiny brains '' and the body can't produce enough of it on its own.
And yet: ''It's a very understudied nutrient,'' says Wallace. ''I believe we've only considered it essential [something you have to get from your diet] since the late 1990s.''
There are small amounts of choline in lots of vegan staples, but among the richest sources are eggs, beef and seafood. In fact, even with a normal diet, 90% of Americans don't consume enough. According to unpublished research by Wallace, vegetarians have the lowest intakes of any demographic. ''They have extremely low levels of choline, to the point where it might be concerning,'' he says.
For vegans, the picture is likely to be bleaker still, since people who eat eggs tend to have almost double the choline levels of those who don't. And though the US authorities have set suggested intakes, they might be way off.
Wallace points to a 2018 study, which found that the babies of women who consumed twice the amount considered ''adequate'' '' around 930mg each day '' in the last third of pregnancy enjoyed a lasting cognitive edge. For comparison, the average vegetarian gets roughly a fifth of that amount.
Vegans can get the protein they need from alternatives such as soya, but it won't give them essential elements such as choline and creatine (Credit: Getty Images)
In other cases, our understanding is even murkier.
The latest nutrient in question is creatine '' a white, powdery substance often found in fitness shakes. Its natural function in the body is to supply our cells with energy, so it's revered by gym obsessives as a way to improve their endurance.
But it's also important to the brain '' and studies have shown that increasing your intake can provide a range of benefits, such as a better recognition memory and reduced mental fatigue. Recently it's started to gain traction as a smart drug.
It's well-established that vegans and vegetarians have significantly lower levels in their bodies, because plants and fungi don't contain any.
This has led scientists to wonder whether a creatine deficit could be holding some people back. For one study, researchers tested how the intelligence of vegetarians and omnivores changed after five days on supplements. ''We found that the vegetarians seemed to benefit particularly,'' says David Benton from Swansea University, who led the research.
In contrast, the omnivores were relatively unaffected. This hints that, unlike the vegetarians, they already had the appropriate amount of creatine in their brains.
However, Caroline Rae, who led another study, says there isn't enough evidence to back taking creatine yet. It may come with unintended consequences, such as reducing the brain's ability to make its own '' leading to ''creatine withdrawal''. ''I've always hypothesised that it could be useful if you wanted to cram for an exam, but it would be interesting to see if people then got slower after they stopped.''
Finally, the brain largely makes its own supply, so it's not clear if vegans actually need any extra. Instead of being a major source, the creatine in our diets might only be used by the brain in ''extreme'' conditions, like when we're stressed.
Creatine, carnosine, taurine, omega-3, heme iron and vitamins B12 and D3 only occur naturally in foods made from animal products (Credit: Getty Images)
Nevertheless, Cofnas finds the potential creatine deficits in vegans disturbing. ''It can make quite a substantial difference in your life, whether your intelligence is one standard deviation above the mean or two,'' he says, referring to the small-yet-significant intellectual gains made by vegetarians on creatine supplements.
So what's the verdict?
''I think we need a lot more research into vegan nutrition and health,'' says Heather Russell, a dietitian from The Vegan Society. ''As far as we can tell, it's possible to lead a healthy life as a vegan '' certainly there are people who thrive on a vegan diet.'' Though it's important to take supplements, she explains that a person's cardiovascular and brain health are inextricably linked, and vegans tend to have healthier hearts.
''I tell people all the time, if you're going to be a vegan or vegetarian, that's fine,'' says Wallace. ''I'm certainly not advocating against it. But there are 40 or something essential nutrients. So, I mean, it really would take a lot of research for vegans to get everything the brain needs,'' he says. Some nutrients that a typical vegan diet is low or lacking in, like choline, creatine, carnosine and taurine, are extremely bulky, so just taking a standard vitamin tablet won't be enough. Instead, they need to be taken individually.
Benton agrees. ''I'm sure that if you are knowledgeable, careful, and obsessive about it '' and you have all the right personality characteristics to be this way '' then it is possible to have a healthy diet as a vegan,'' he says. ''But it is distinctly possible that you could have deficiencies.''
Cofnas takes a harsher view. Though vegans can take supplements, he thinks it's unrealistic to expect that they all will. Consequently, he finds the recent shift towards plant-based diets troubling, though he's sympathetic to the arguments for doing so. ''Without question, veganism can cause B12 and iron deficiencies, and without question they affect your intelligence,'' he says.
As for Gandhi, he eventually abandoned his illicit relationship with meat, and went back to vegetarianism. But his experiments with nutrition didn't end there. He also ditched salt, then went back to it, and attempted veganism '' though after a bout of dysentery practically reduced him to a living skeleton, he decided that milk products were necessary, in order for a person to be healthy.
Whatever the truth is, isn't it about time we found out?
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Johnson & Johnson to create coronavirus vaccine | One America News Network
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:39
Students line up to sanitize their hands to avoid the contact of coronavirus before their morning class at a hight school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
OAN NewsroomUPDATED 10:56 AM PT '-- Tuesday, January 28, 2020Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson is working on a vaccine to counter the deadly coronavirus. In a recent interview, the chief scientist for Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Paul Stoffels, said he's confident they can create a vaccine within months. However, it could take up to a year before it becomes available to the public.
This comes after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported more than 100 people across 26 states are currently being screened for the fast spreading illness.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke out on the current state of the epidemic Tuesday.
''The CDC has reported five cases of the novel coronavirus infection here in the United States'...China has now reported more than 4,500 cases,'' he stated. ''American's should know that this is a potentially very serious public health threat, but at this point American's should not worry for their own safety.''
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks at a news conference about the federal government's response to a virus outbreak originating in China, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
According to the CDC, five cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the U.S. and all of those who were affected had previously traveled to Wuhan, China. The capital city of Central China's Hubei province has been deemed the epicenter of the outbreak.
In the meantime, the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 advisory warning and are urging American's to hold off on traveling to China.
RELATED: Coronavirus infects Asia stocks with exposure to China
Get ready to eat bugs if you want to live beyond 2050 | Engadget
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:39
Of course, there's tofu, which has been used as a meat replacement for thousands of years. But today's consumers expect their protein substitutes to closely resemble the meats they're replacing, which is why Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have arrived to such public fanfare. These plant-based burger alternatives offer the same bloody sizzle that beef does. In Impossible's case, that comes from heme derived from soy roots that have been fermented in genetically engineered yeast. Beyond Meat, on the other hoof, relies on a processing method that "aligns plant-proteins in the same fibrous structures you'd find in animal proteins." But as much as they look, smell and taste like a real beef patty, these products are still extruded plant matter -- and highly processed products at that.
Julie Lesnik, a biological anthropologist at Wayne State University, advocates that we look to get our meat from smaller, more-resource-efficient animals than cattle -- specifically, crickets. She points out that per kilogram, crickets offer roughly the same amount of protein as beef as well as significantly more micronutrients, since you're consuming the exoskeleton as well.
She also notes that given their diminutive stature and affinity for cramped, dark places, crickets require far less arable land than cattle do, citing a 2013 report by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Whereas it takes around 200 square meters of space to grow one kilogram of beef, the same amount of cricket needs only about 15 square meters. They can even be vertically farmed. Their water requirements are equally reduced compared to the 22,000 liters required to produce that kilo of beef.
Crickets for the same yield of protein "use less than one liter of water... based on the fact that crickets get all their water needs from their food," Lesnick said during a recent SciLine webcast. "You still use water to clean your facilities and all the different processing, so one liter is an incredibly idealistic number. So I generally present this more like 100 liters just to be less sensational."
Switching our diets from cow to cricket could help slow climate change as well. The FAO estimates that grazing animals are responsible for as much as 40 percent of the methane released into the atmosphere every year. Crickets, however, don't generally eat grasses and hay and therefore produce a fraction of the greenhouse gasses. (Meanwhile, thanks to their fiber-based diet, termites are a significant source of methane. So we won't likely be raising them as a food source in the foreseeable future.) According to a 2019 white paper by the World Economic Forum, replacing beef with alternative proteins could reduce methane emissions anywhere from seven to 26 percent, depending on the region.
Despite all the nutritional and environmental upsides, getting people to eat crickets -- especially when the finished product still looks like a cricket -- has proved challenging. "When we're thinking about why we don't eat insects, it's really a story of Europe and that Europe being in high latitudes, insects aren't available year-round," Lesnick continued. "Eating insects in the summer can give a reprieve from hunting, but it's nutritionally redundant, so it's not an important resource." And as European nations colonized Africa and Asia, where insects are generally available year-round, they spread their notions on bugs' relative edibility with them.
So instead of replacing cows and other farmyard animals wholesale with insect protein, why not just grow only the parts that we're interested in eating? That's the promise of cellular agriculture. "The idea is rather that we would take the whole cell of a chicken and convert that to a chicken breast instead of using the whole chicken organism to make a blade or a steak," Kate Krueger, Research Director at New Harvest, explained during the same webcast.
"What we're talking about is taking cells out of an organism like a cow or a chicken, growing them up onto a material called a scaffold, which organizes the scale cells and helps them grow in thick quantities," she continued, "and then feeding them with a variety of different nutrients and minerals in a bioreactor to make a full steak-type product." At least that's the theory. Krueger estimated that we're still at least a decade away from being able to produce steaks or sashimi in appreciable quantities, though the process should be able to deliver less readily identifiable products like meatballs and chicken nuggets in as little as five years.
Given how young the technology is (the first lab-grown burger was introduced in 2013 and cost $325,000), cellular agriculture's environmental impact has yet to be fully understood. A 2011 study published in Environmental Science and Technology figured that growing meat in a lab rather than a feed yard would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78 to 96 percent and require seven to 45 percent less energy and 82 to 96 percent less water. Those estimates may have been a bit overzealous though, according to a number of subsequent studies that also took into account the energy costs of developing the infrastructure needed to grow these meats.
A 2019 study published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems notes, "Under continuous high global consumption, cultured meat results in less warming than cattle initially, but this gap narrows in the long term and in some cases cattle production causes far less warming." While cows produce methane, cellular agriculture generates a lot of carbon dioxide. This is because you're growing meat in what is essentially a sterile lab environment with high energy demand.
While the price of a lab-grown burger dropped to around $11 by 2015, growing meat at scale is still an expensive proposition. "Traditionally, a lot of the media sources [that cells live and feed on] tend to be really expensive for a few different reasons," Krueger explained. "They usually either contain a fraction of fetal cow blood, which would make products not vegan and is also fairly expensive, or they would contain recombinant proteins: proteins that you would make in different cell lines in a largely expensive process."
That hasn't dampened interest in the technology, however. "If we start small and stay small, we can essentially dramatically reduce the cost, and the capital burden drops by an order of magnitude or more," Yaakov Nahmias, Founder and Chief Scientist of Future Meat Technologies, told Fast Company in 2018. "With these two plays ''- a more efficient bioreactor and a distributed manufacturing model -'' we can essentially drop the cost down to about $5 a kilogram [$2.27 a pound]. This is where it starts getting interesting because the distributed model also allows you to use the current economics.
"These distributive models allow us to grow organically and essentially replace chicken coops with these bioreactors," he continued. "This, I think, is a reasonable way of actually taking over and replacing this industry sustainably."
Until bioreactor technology fully matures, we can always eat algae -- aka, seaweed. "Seaweeds don't require fertilizers, don't require feed, they don't require fresh water and they don't require land," Denise Skonberg, Associate Professor of Food Science in the School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine, explained during the same webcast. "So those are a lot of benefits there." What's more, seaweeds are phenomenal at sequestering carbon and nitrogen; can be grown and harvested in as little as two to three months, depending on the variety; and "are extremely nutrient-dense," Skonberg continued. "They're primarily noted for their really high content of dietary fiber."
Seaweed farming is already a big business, a $6 billion industry, according to recent FAO estimates. However, most of those operations are located in East Asia. Skonberg pointed to America's northerly shores -- Washington, Maine and New England -- as promising areas for aquaculture industries. "There's a lot of clean water and a lot of potential for growing seaweed," she said. "We're starting off by looking at species that do well in temperate waters, and that includes things like sugar kelp, bull kelp -- I mean, there's a lot of kelps!"
However, much more research is needed before you'll start to see fresh seaweed in the produce aisle. For example, we're not entirely clear on what the shelf life of fresh seaweed even is, Skonberg noted. It's a question that was "answered for cauliflower and broccoli hundreds of years ago, but [for seaweed], we have no idea."
Food safety and regulation concerns must also be addressed. "Research is under way looking at how well different types of species can concentrate heavy metals in their tissue," Skonberg said. "Some that are of interest include arsenic. Research has shown that some of the brown macroalgae tend to concentrate it at a much higher rate than the green or the red macroalgae. ... Where it's harvested plays a huge, huge role."
So whether it comes from a cricket or a lab or off the coast of Indonesia, tomorrow's protein alternatives will be a win for both consumers and the environment, though likely neither are as excited about those prospects as the cows.
Images: Getty Creative (crickets and bioreactor), Getty Editorial (seaweed and kelp)
In this article:
algae, beef, food, green, insects, Julie Lesnik, Kate Krueger, lab-grown meat, meat, New Harvest, protein, sustainability, tomorrow, Wayne State University All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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The Cost of Avast's Free Antivirus: Companies Can Spy on Your Clicks | PCMag
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:10
Your antivirus should protect you, but what if it's handing over your browser history to a major marketing company?
Relax. That's what Avast told the public after its browser extensions were found harvesting users' data to supply to marketers. Last month, the antivirus company tried to justify the practice by claiming the collected web histories were stripped of users' personal details before being handed off.
"The data is fully de-identified and aggregated and cannot be used to personally identify or target you," Avast told users, who opt in to the data sharing. In return, your privacy is preserved, Avast gets paid, and online marketers get a trove of "aggregate" consumer data to help them sell more products.
There's just one problem: What should be a giant chunk of anonymized web history data can actually be picked apart and linked back to individual Avast users, according to a joint investigation by PCMag and Motherboard.
How 'De-Identification' Can FailThe Avast division charged with selling the data is Jumpshot, a company subsidiary that's been offering access to user traffic from 100 million devices, including PCs and phones. In return, clients'--from big brands to e-commerce providers'--can learn what consumers are buying and where, whether it be from a Google or Amazon search, an ad from a news article, or a post on Instagram.
The data collected is so granular that clients can view the individual clicks users are making on their browsing sessions, including the time down to the millisecond. And while the collected data is never linked to a person's name, email or IP address, each user history is nevertheless assigned to an identifier called the device ID, which will persist unless the user uninstalls the Avast antivirus product.
For instance, a single click can theoretically look like this:
Device ID: abc123x Date: 2019/12/01 Hour Minute Second: 12:03:05 Domain: Amazon.com Product: Apple iPad Pro 10.5 - 2017 Model - 256GB, Rose Gold Behavior: Add to Cart
At first glance, the click looks harmless. You can't pin it to an exact user. That is, unless you're Amazon.com, which could easily figure out which Amazon user bought an iPad Pro at 12:03:05 on Dec. 1, 2019. Suddenly, device ID: 123abcx is a known user. And whatever else Jumpshot has on 123abcx's activity'--from other e-commerce purchases to Google searches'--is no longer anonymous.
PCMag and Motherboard learned about the details surrounding the data collection from a source familiar with Jumpshot's products. And privacy experts we spoke to agreed the timestamp information, persistent device IDs, along with the collected URLs could be be analyzed to expose someone's identity.
"Most of the threats posed by de-anonymization'--where you are identifying people'--comes from the ability to merge the information with other data," said Gunes Acar, a privacy researcher who studies online tracking.
He points out that major companies such as Amazon, Google, and branded retailers and marketing firms can amass entire activity logs on their users. With Jumpshot's data, the companies have another way to trace users' digital footprints across the internet.
"Maybe the (Jumpshot) data itself is not identifying people," Acar said. "Maybe it's just a list of hashed user IDs and some URLs. But it can always be combined with other data from other marketers, other advertisers, who can basically arrive at the real identity."
The 'All Clicks Feed'
According to internal documents, Jumpshot offers a variety of products that serve up collected browser data in different ways. For example, one product focuses on searches that people are making, including keywords used and results that were clicked.
We viewed a snapshot of the collected data, and saw logs featuring queries on mundane, everyday topics. But there were also sensitive searches for porn'--including underage sex'--information no one would want tied to them.
Other Jumpshot products are designed to track which videos users are watching on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Another revolves around analyzing a select e-commerce domain to help marketers understand how users are reaching it.
But in regards to one particular client, Jumpshot appears to have offered access to everything. In December 2018, Omnicom Media Group, a major marketing provider, signed a contract to receive what's called the "All Clicks Feed," or every click Jumpshot is collecting from Avast users. Normally, the All Clicks Feed is sold without device IDs "to protect against triangulation of PII (Personally Identifiable Information)," says Jumpshot's product handbook. But when it comes to Omnicom, Jumpshot is delivering the product with device IDs attached to each click, according to the contract.
In addition, the contract calls for Jumpshot to supply the URL string to each site visited, the referring URL, the timestamps down to the millisecond, along with the suspected age and gender of the user, which can inferred based on what sites the person is visiting.
It's unclear why Omnicom wants the data. The company did not respond to our questions. But the contract raises the disturbing prospect Omnicom can unravel Jumpshot's data to identify individual users.
Although Omnicom itself doesn't own a major internet platform, the Jumpshot data is being sent to a subsidiary called Annalect, which is offering technology solutions to help companies merge their own customer information with third-party data. The three-year contract went into effect in January 2019, and gives Omnicom access to the daily click-stream data on 14 markets, including the US, India, and the UK. In return, Jumpshot gets paid $6.5 million.
Who else might have access to Jumpshot's data remains unclear. The company's website says it's worked with other brands, including IBM, Microsoft, and Google. However, Microsoft said it has no current relationship with Jumpshot. IBM, on the other hand, has "no record" of being a client of either Avast or Jumpshot. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
Other clients mentioned in Jumpshot's marketing cover consumer product companies Unilever, Nestle Purina, and Kimberly-Clark, in addition to TurboTax provider Intuit. Also named are market research and consulting firms McKinsey & Company and GfK, which declined to comment on its partnership with Jumpshot. Attempts to confirm other customer relationships were largely met with no responses. But documents we obtained show the Jumpshot data possibly going to venture capital firms.
'It's Almost Impossible to De-Identify Data'Wladimir Palant is the security researcher who initially sparked last month's public scrutiny of Avast's data-collection policies. In October, he noticed something odd with the antivirus company's browser extensions: They were logging every website visited alongside a user ID and sending the information to Avast.
The findings prompted him to call out the extensions as spyware. In response, Google and Mozilla temporarily removed them until Avast implemented new privacy protections. Still, Palant has been trying to understand what Avast means when it says it "de-identifies" and "aggregates" users' browser histories when the antivirus company has refrained from publicly revealing the exact technical process.
"Aggregation would normally mean that data of multiple users is combined. If Jumpshot clients can still see data of individual users, that's really bad," Palant said in an email interview.
One safeguard Jumpshot uses to prevent clients from pinpointing the real identities of Avast users is a patented process designed to strip away PII information, such as names and email addresses, from appearing in the collected URLs. But even with the PII stripping, Palant says the data collection is still needlessly exposing Avast users to privacy risks.
"It is hard to imagine that any anonymization algorithm will be able to remove all the relevant data. There are simply too many websites out there, and each of them does something different," he said. For example, Palant points out how visiting the collected URL links for one user could consistently reveal which tweets or videos the person commented on, and thus expose the user's real identity.
"It's almost impossible to de-identify data," said Eric Goldman, co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, who also took issue with an antivirus company monetizing users' data. "That just sounds like a terrible business practice. They're supposed to be protecting consumers from threats, rather than exposing them to threats."
'Mind Sharing Some Data With Us?'
We asked Avast more than a dozen questions concerning the extent of the data collected, who it's being shared with, along with information about the Omnicom contract. It declined to answer most of our questions or provide a contact for Jumpshot, which didn't respond to our calls or emails. However, Avast did say it stopped collecting user data for marketing purposes via the Avast and AVG browser extensions.
"We completely discontinued the practice of using any data from the browser extensions for any other purpose than the core security engine, including sharing with Jumpshot," the company said in a statement.
Nevertheless, Avast's Jumpshot division can still collect your browser histories through Avast's main antivirus applications on desktop and mobile. This include AVG antivirus, which Avast also owns. The data harvesting occurs through the software's Web Shield component, which will also scan URLs on your browser to detect malicious or fraudulent websites.
For this reason, PCMag can no longer recommend Avast Free Antivirus as an Editors' Choice in the category of free antivirus protection.
Whether the company really needs your URLs to protect you is up for debate. Avast says taking the information directly and letting Avast's cloud servers immediately scan them provides users with "additional layers of security." But the same approach has its own risks, according to privacy researcher Gunes Acar, who said the safest way to process visited URLs is to never collect them. Google's Safe Browsing API, for example, sends an updated blacklist of bad websites to your machine's browser, so the URLs can be checked on your machine rather than over the cloud.
"It can be done in a more private way," Acar said. "Avast should definitely adopt that. But it seems they're in the business of making money from the URLs."
On the flip side, Avast is offering a free antivirus product. The company also points out the browser history collection is optional. You can shut it off on install or within the settings panel.
"Users have always had the ability to opt out of sharing data with Jumpshot. As of July 2019, we had already begun implementing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our AV (antivirus), and we are now also prompting our existing free users to make an explicit choice, a process which will be completed in February 2020," the company said.
Indeed, when you install the Avast or AVG antivirus on a Windows PC, the product will show you a pop-up that asks: "Mind sharing some data with us?" The pop-up will then proceed to tell you the collected data will be de-identified and aggregated as a way to protect your privacy.
However, no mention is made about how the same data can be combined with other information to connect your identity to the collected browser history. Nor does the pop-up mention how Jumpshot can retain access to the data for three years. For that detail, you'll have to look at the fine print in Avast's privacy policy.
As a result, users who see the pop-up may assume their data will be protected, and opt in when in reality, the privacy policies around tech products are often deliberately vague and simplified. "You want the consumer to buy or use your product. But you don't want to scare them either," said Kim Phan, a partner at legal firm Ballard Spahr, who works in privacy and data security group.
The trade-off is that the policies can become opaque. "It's harder to figure out what you're doing," she added. "People won't be able to understand the details, or they will think you are trying to hide something."
In Avast's case, the controversy around the largely unknown data-collection practices prompted enough scrutiny that US Sen. Ron Wyden decided to investigate. "Americans expect cybersecurity and privacy software to protect their data, not sell it to marketers," he tweeted at the time.
In a statement, Wyden said he was encouraged that Avast is ending the data collection through the company's browser extensions. "However I'm concerned that Avast has not yet committed to deleting user data that was collected and shared without the opt-in consent of its users, or to end the sale of sensitive internet browsing data," he added. "The only responsible course of action is to be fully transparent with customers going forward, and to purge data that was collected under suspect conditions in the past."
Further ReadingWindows 7 Is Dead: Long Live Your Antivirus!Readers' Choice Awards 2020: Antivirus & Security Suite Software Business Choice Awards 2020: Security Software Online Shopping? Help Keep Your Information Safe this Holiday SeasonMore in AntivirusMore Antivirus ReviewsAvast Free AntivirusKaspersky Security Cloud FreeAiro Antivirus for MacAvast Premium Security (for Mac)Avast Security (for Mac)More Antivirus Best PicksThe Best Free Antivirus Protection for 2020The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for 2020The Best Antivirus Protection for 2020The Best Spyware Protection Security Software for 2020The Best Malware Removal and Protection Software for 2020
Popular antivirus tracked users' porn browsing habits: report
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 08:09
January 28, 2020 | 4:57pm | Updated January 28, 2020 | 8:05pm
Avast '-- whose free antivirus software has been used by hundreds of millions around the world '-- has been harvesting and selling users' ''highly sensitive'' web-browsing histories, according to an explosive report.
An Avast subsidiary called Jumpshot has been giving big companies like Google, Pepsi, Home Depot and McKinsey & Co. access to Avast user's internet activity '-- from their shopping habits on Amazon to their sessions on Pornhub, according to a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag.
Avast tracked users' Internet behavior to a granular degree, even in their most intimate moments. The collected data could tell a company what time a user visited a porn site, what they searched for on the site and even what video they watched.
''Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site,'' Jumpshot claimed in a slide on a webinar it hosted in December, according to the Tuesday report.
The company asked users to opt-in to the tracking, and the data was anonymized, meaning that their individual identities were scrubbed from the browsing data.
Experts told Motherboard, however, that in certain instances it ''could be possible to deanonymize certain users'' provided there was enough specific data about their browsing habits.
Either way, the investigation found that users were oftentimes unaware they were being monitored online.
Avast had previously been caught funneling data to Jumpshot that was collected through a browser extension, but ended the practice after it was reported in October.
Avast said that it always gets user permission, and noted that over the summer it began ''implementing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our AV, and we are now also prompting our existing free users to make an opt-in or opt-out choice, a process which will be completed in February 2020.''
The company added that it takes ''seriously the responsibility to balance user privacy with the necessary use of data for our core security products.''
Scientists Discover Why Stress Turns Your Hair White - LADbible
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:56
Amelia Ward in
NewsLast updated 8:58 PM, Thursday January 23 2020 GMT
If you're the lucky recipient of grey hairs, it might not just be that you're getting old, scientists have said that stress could in fact be to blame.
Experiments on mice have shown that stem cells that control skin and hair colour can become damaged after being under high stress levels, as published on nature.com.
The chance finding showed that mice that had dark fur turned completely white within a few weeks.
Researchers from America and Brazil said that exploring the findings more could lead to development of a drug that stops hair changing colour.
Credit: William A GoncalvesAlthough hair colour changing is mainly down to ageing and the natural process of getting old, the study shows that stress can be a factor in speeding it up.
Researchers from Sao Paulo and Harvard Universities said that the effects of stress were linked to certain cells that are responsible for producing melanin - the substance that causes hair and skin colour changes.
Professor Ya-Cieh Hsu, from Harvard, told the BBC: "We now know for sure that stress is responsible for this specific change to your skin and hair, and how it works."
The accidental findings were discovered when they noticed that, when doing another experiment, that pain in mice triggered adrenaline and cortisol to be released.
When their hearts were beating faster, their blood pressure rose, which affected their nervous system and caused acute stress.
This then caused the stem cells that produced melanin to be reduced.
Professor Hsu said: "I expected stress was bad for the body, But the detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined.
"After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. Once they're gone, you can't regenerate pigment any more - the damage is permanent."
Another experiment showed that the changes could be blocked by giving the mice a drug that treats high-blood pressure.
By comparing the genes of mice in pain with others, they realised that the protein causing damage when stressed is called cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK). When it was suppressed, the treatment stopped their fur from changing colour.
Professor Hsu added: "These findings are not a cure or treatment for grey hair. Our discovery, made in mice, is only the beginning of a long journey to finding an intervention for people.
"It also gives us an idea of how stress might affect many other parts of the body."
Featured Image Credit: William Goncalves
Topics: World News, Health
Amelia WardAmelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into the world of music. Quickly realising that you can't pay your bills with guestlist, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]
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Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Evacuates Citizens From Hot Zone, and Death Toll Mounts - The New York Times
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:13
Chinese officials confirmed nearly 6,000 cases of the mysterious illness as foreign governments airlifted their citizens out of Wuhan, the outbreak's epicenter.
Right Now
Virus shows signs of spreading overseas with people who never visited China falling ill in Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Image An airplane, in background, carrying Americans being evacuated from Wuhan, China, made a refueling stop at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage on Tuesday night. Credit... Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News, via Associated Press Americans evacuated from China undergo screening in Alaska before quarantine.A chartered plane carrying more than 200 Americans from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, landed in Anchorage shortly after 9:20 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to flight tracking services.
The 240 passengers, including diplomats and businesspeople, were to undergo medical screening at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the local authorities said. The plane was also to be refueled before flying to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif., its final destination.
Jim Szczesniak, the airport manager, said that the aircraft would be ''handled in a remote location'' and that medical staff from the United States Centers for Disease Control would check patients in an isolated area. Passengers would remain in a terminal that is not currently being used by commercial carriers or accessible to the public.
''The passengers will be screened and go through the immigration process,'' Mr. Szczesniak said. ''They will reboard their flight and head to their final destination.''
However, any passengers found to have a cough, fever or shortness of breath in Anchorage will be further assessed by medical experts, according to a statement released by Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services. If the medical team determines that special care is necessary, it will refer those passengers to a nearby hospital.
Alaska has had no cases of the new coronavirus or people suspected of having it. But after officials announced on Monday that the plane would be taking Americans to Alaska from Wuhan, the health department said that it had activated its emergency operations center to help coordinate detection and response efforts.
Many aircraft that transport cargo stop in Anchorage to refuel. So far this month, six cargo planes from Wuhan have landed there.
Other countries that have evacuated or plan to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan include France, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Germany, Kazakhstan, Britain, Canada, Russia, the Netherlands, Myanmar and Australia.
The outbreak is spreading. Nearly 6,000 cases have been confirmed.
More than 130 people have died from the mysterious new coronavirus, according to official Chinese statistics, but the real number is likely much higher. A dearth of test kits has hindered health officials ability to accurately diagnose and track the illness.
Here's what we know about how the disease has spread:
'—† China said on Wednesday that 132 people had died from the virus, which is believed to have originated in the central city of Wuhan and is spreading across the country. The previous count, on Tuesday, was 106.
'—† The number of confirmed cases increased by nearly 25 percent to 5,974 on Wednesday, up from 4,515 on Tuesday, according to China's National Health Commission.
'—† Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Hong Kong has eight; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five each; Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; Japan has seven; France has four; Canada has three; Vietnam has two; and Nepal, Cambodia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates each have one.
'—† Cases recorded in Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam and Japan involved patients who had not been to China. There have been no reported deaths outside China.
British Airways cancels all flights to and from China amid fears of the outbreak.
British Airways has indefinitely suspended all flights to and from China, the airline said on Wednesday, citing advice from Britain's Foreign Office that cautioned against all nonessential travel to China.
''We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority,'' the company said in an emailed statement.
Other airlines have begun to scale back flights to China as the death toll and number of cases rises, but the British flag carrier, one of the world's largest international airlines, is the first to cancel all its scheduled flights.
The airline, based in London, makes multiple flights a week to Beijing and Shanghai.
The low-cost Indonesian carrier Lion Air and Seoul Air of South Korea also suspended all their flights to China, The Associated Press reported.
United Airlines and Air Canada said on Tuesday that they would reduce flights to China, canceling dozens of scheduled trips over the coming days and weeks because of a sudden drop in demand. Health officials in the United States have also warned against all nonessential travel to China.
In Hong Kong, the authorities have reduced by half the number of flights coming into the semiautonomous region from mainland China and have also shut down rail services to the mainland. Hong Kong's flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, has also suspended all flights to and from Wuhan through March.
Rise in number of cases outside China is ''very concerning,'' expert says.The new coronavirus that was first discovered in China last month is showing early signs of spreading abroad, with people who never visited China during the outbreak falling ill in Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The overseas cases highlight the ability of the mysterious disease, which is believed to have originated in wild animals, to be transmitted from one person to another, increasing its chances of spreading.
''These reports are concerning, if they stand up to scrutiny, which they certainly sound credible,'' said Dr. Arthur Reingold, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Some cases appear to have been spread between family members, who are at greater risk while caring for sick relatives. Other cases, however, appear to have spread between people with different connections.
In Japan, a tour bus driver in his 60s who had driven two different groups from Wuhan, China, was confirmed to have the coronavirus, officials said on Tuesday. The driver had no history of traveling to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
''I think what that says is, if we can get transmission in such a setting, then we can certainly get it in the waiting room of a clinic or a hospital,'' Professor Reingold said. ''That's very concerning.''
German officials said on Tuesday that a 33-year-old man from Starnberg in Bavaria was apparently infected with the coronavirus after a Jan. 21 training event with a Chinese colleague. The Chinese colleague flew home two days later. The German man was being treated under isolation while officials identified other people with whom he might have been in contact.
Late Tuesday, health officials in Germany said three more people from the same company in Bavaria were also infected. The three were admitted to a clinic in Munich, where they were to be isolated and treated. An additional 40 people with close contact to those infected would be tested on Wednesday, officials said.
Taiwan said on Tuesday that a man whose wife had contracted the virus while working in Wuhan had also contracted the disease. He became Taiwan's eighth case and the first known to be transmitted locally.
In an article published by The New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday, Vietnamese physicians reported that a 65-year-old man from Wuhan appeared to have transmitted the coronavirus to his son, 27, who was living in Long An Province, southwest of Ho Chi Minh City. The father developed a fever on Jan. 17, four days after flying to Hanoi, Vietnam, from Wuhan.
The son met his father on Jan. 17, and by Jan. 20 he had a dry cough and fever. The father's condition has improved, and the son is stable, the doctors wrote. None of their 28 identified close contacts, including the father's wife, have developed symptoms of respiratory infection, they said.
Villagers clash with the police over a proposed quarantine site. The police clashed on Tuesday with residents of a village in the coastal province of Fujian after it was revealed that the government planned to convert a factory into a quarantine site for patients with the dangerous coronavirus.
Several people were reportedly arrested in the village of Dasha, where residents' fears and anger over the proposed site spilled into the street. In videos recorded by residents, villagers are seen blocking a road and throwing wooden stools at police officers, who marched through the town in riot gear.
Residents said they were given no warning about the plans and only learned that their village would host the sick when hospital beds and other materials began arriving.
''The factory is only several minutes' walk away from our village,'' said one resident, Therese Zheng. ''Given the lack of information from the government, there is reason that villagers are panicking.''
The outrage in Dasha mirrors that in other Chinese cities where the government has proposed quarantine sites without first consulting those living nearby. In Hong Kong on Sunday, protesters threw Molotov cocktails into the lobby of an unoccupied public housing project that had been proposed as a quarantine area.
A Xiapu County health official denied that villagers in Dasha were not made aware of the quarantine site and said the information had been broadcast for days.
Another county official said the proposed quarantine site was far from residences and would be cordoned off to limit exposure. The official added that patients would be transported to the site by ambulance as a further measure to protect the community.
As of Wednesday, there were 82 confirmed cases of the virus in Fujian Province, two of which were in Xiapu County.
A Beijing drugstore gets a big fine for price gouging on masks. With demand for surgical masks on the rise in China, a drugstore in Beijing has been fined more than $400,000 by the government for charging customers roughly six times what the masks are being sold for online.
Infectious disease specialists say the disposable masks, which cover the nose and mouth, can help prevent the spread of infections if they are worn properly and used consistently.
The masks have become ubiquitous in cities across China. In Hong Kong, where the outbreak has brought back painful memories of the SARS epidemic in 2002-03, officials said that customs authorities were examining surgical masks being sold in the city for counterfeit labeling and not meeting safety standards.
In announcing the fine against the Beijing drugstore, a government notice warned that the authorities would ''continue to step up enforcement and make every effort to curb the excessive and rapid rise in protective enforcement prices.''
State-run media said that the store was charging customers 850 yuan, or $122, for the masks, while they were being sold online for 143 yuan.
Surgical masks have become so much in demand that a website advertising more fashionable versions of them warns that deliveries are at risk of being delayed.
China's highest court warns the police to avoid intimidating whistle-blowers. China's Supreme People's Court, the country's highest judicial body, on Tuesday posted an essay on its social media accounts defending a group of Wuhan residents who shared information about the outbreak and were subsequently accused of ''spreading rumors'' by the city's police force.
The essay does not carry the weight of an official ruling but served as a rare rebuke of the police by the country's courts. The essay seemed to suggest that the ruling Communist Party was concerned that local officials would attempt to cover up their own failings at the risk of worsening the outbreak.
According to Chinese news reports, among those approached by the police was a doctor who in December posted a message on WeChat, a social media platform, warning of a SARS outbreak that had sickened at least seven people, and which originated at a seafood market in Wuhan.
SARS, or severe acute respiratory illness, was a coronavirus that rapidly spread across China in 2003 and killed 774 people in 17 countries. The Wuhan virus was later determined to be a different disease, the new coronavirus.
The court said the initial information shared by the doctor was wrong, but ''not completely fabricated'' and called on the local authorities to be more tolerant of whistle-blowers who share information without malicious intent.
Even if people believed the ''rumors,'' the court said, the public would only have taken precautions that ''better prevent and control the novel pneumonia.''
Scientists are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine.Scientists are working to develop a vaccine capable of stopping the spread of a mysterious new coronavirus that has infected thousands of people, mostly in China.
Government scientists in China, the United States and Australia, as well as those working at Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Therapeutics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals are all working quickly to develop a vaccine.
The hunt began Jan. 10, when Chinese scientists posted the genetic makeup of the virus on a public database. The next morning, researchers at the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center in Maryland went to work. Within hours, they had pinpointed the parts of the genetic code that could be used to make a vaccine.
Historically, vaccines have been one of the greatest public health tools to prevent disease. But even as technology, genomics and global coordination have all improved, allowing researchers to move at top speed, vaccine development remains an expensive and risky process.
How the coronavirus could be affecting the global economy.As the death toll from the mysterious coronavirus in China keeps rising, economic analysts have counseled caution. They say it's too soon to sound the alarm about the impact on the world economy.
And yet, some American companies with a big presence in China are being forced to adapt. Starbucks, for example, announced on Tuesday that it was temporarily closing half of its stores there.
''The magnitude of the impact will depend on the duration of store closures as we work with local authorities to manage the situation and protect our partners and customers,'' Pat Grismer, its chief financial officer, said during an earnings call.
Starbucks isn't alone. Also shuttering shops were McDonald's and Yum China, the country's largest restaurant company, which operates the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands in China and also controls its own brands.
China's travel restrictions and expanding screenings at airports around the world have also hurt business. United Airlines announced that it was suspending some flights. American Airlines stock fell more than 5 percent on Tuesday.
Hotels and resorts with properties in the affected areas, which include Macau, a special administrative region and gambling mecca, also saw the value of their shares sink. They include Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International.
Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton, which have several properties in China, also saw their stock prices slide.
Other brands that are popular in China, like Estee Lauder, Nike and Tapestry, which sells Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, are likely to see a dent in earnings, bank analysts said.
China is the world's second largest economy.
Reporting was contributed by Chris Buckley, Russell Goldman, Elaine Yu, Raymond Zhong, Austin Ramzy, Alexandra Stevenson, Sui-Li Wee, Miriam Jordan, Paul Mozur, Knvul Sheikh, Katie Thomas, James Gorman, Motoko Rich, Ben Dooley, Makiko Inoue, Eimi Yamamitsu and Patricia Cohen. Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Amber Wang, Yiwei Wang and Claire Fu contributed research.
Coronavirus evacuations begin as China cases outstrip Sars | Global development | The Guardian
Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:22
Show caption A chartered aircraft operated by All Nippon Airways prepares to leave Tokyo for Wuhan. Photograph: Jiji Press/EPA
Global developmentWed 29 Jan 2020 00.32 EST
Japan and the US have airlifted hundreds of their citizens from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, as officials in China said the death toll from the disease had risen sharply overnight to 132, with nearly 1,500 new cases in the country.
A government-chartered plane carrying 206 Japanese nationals arrived in Tokyo from Wuhan on Wednesday morning. Officials said four of the passengers '' a woman and three men '' had coughs and fevers and had been taken to a hospital in separate ambulances for treatment and further tests.
The government's top spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said there was no confirmation yet of whether they were infected with the virus.
Coronavirus live updates: US and Japanese citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China '' latest news Pressure is mounting on China to control the spread of the disease. The country's national health commission on Wednesday said the total number of deaths from the flu-like virus rose by 26 on Tuesday, with almost all of the new cases in Hubei province, which is under virtual lockdown.
The number of confirmed cases rose to a total of 5,974 '' overtaking the 5,327 confirmed cases in mainland China during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic. The Sars outbreak killed more than 770 people globally, including 349 in mainland China.
Officials in the US, meanwhile, said a chartered plane had left Wuhan earlier on Wednesday with about 200 US citizens onboard, including staff from the local US consulate.
''These travellers will be carefully screened and monitored to protect their health, as well as the health and safety of their fellow Americans,'' US state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Australia said on Wednesday it would help ''vulnerable or isolated'' citizens leave Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, and quarantine them on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean that is home to a controversial detention centre for asylum seekers.
Wearing surgical masks, Takeo Aoyama, center left, and Takayuki Kato, center right, speak to journalists after returning home from Wuhan on a Japanese chartered plane Photograph: Haruka Nuga/AP Britain is finalising plans to repatriate citizens from in and around Wuhan. The European Union will fly its citizens out aboard two French planes this week, and South Korea was due to do the same. Several other countries were assessing their options.
One of the Japanese passengers, Takeo Aoyama, said he was relieved to be home. ''We were feeling increasingly uneasy as the situation developed so rapidly and we were still in the city,'' Aoyama, wearing a surgical mask, said at Haneda airport in Tokyo.
''We were not able to move freely, so we only had partial information. The restrictions on the flow of goods and transport were extremely strict.''
Aoyama, who works at Nippon Steel's subsidiary in Wuhan, said more than 400 of his compatriots wishing to return to Japan were still in the city, including employees of a Japanese supermarket chain that had stayed open during the lockdown.
''I hope we can also provide support for the Chinese people, which I think would also help the Japanese people who are still there,'' he said.
Another evacuee, Takayuki Kato, said all of the passengers had had their temperatures taken before the plane left Wuhan and again by a doctor during the flight. ''Everyone in the city began wearing masks. On the 23rd, when transport was shut down, I became very alarmed,'' he said.
What is the coronavirus and how worried should we be? All of the passengers were expected to undergo further health checks, with those showing symptoms to be hospitalised and the remainder to undergo ''self-quarantine'' at home until they can be declared free of the virus.
Around 650 Japanese nationals in the Wuhan area have said they want to return home. Reports said a second plane was due to leave Tokyo on Wednesday evening, with additional flights planned.
The first flight had arrived in the Chinese city on Tuesday night carrying emergency supplies, including 15,000 masks, 50,000 pairs of gloves and 8,000 protective glasses, the foreign ministry said.
In and around Wuhan, more than 50 million people have been locked down as authorities struggle to stop an infection that has since spread to more than 15 countries.
Officials in Germany said four people from the same company were infected after one of them contracted it from a colleague while visiting their workplace in China.
Late on Tuesday, Japan reported its first possible case of human-to-human transition, with reports that a coach driver in his 60s had tested positive after twice driving groups of tourists from Wuhan earlier this month. The man is reportedly recovering.
Japan's health ministry has so far confirmed seven cases of the virus in the country.
On Wednesday an Australian research facility announced it had the first team outside China to recreate the deadly virus in a lab, which will improve the speed and accuracy of testing and increase the chances of developing a vaccine.
''This is one step, a piece in the puzzle that we have contributed,'' said virus identification laboratory head Dr Julian Druce, from Melbourne's Peter Doherty Institute.
With Reuters
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Harvard Chemistry Chairman Charged on Alleged Undisclosed Ties to China - WSJ
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 23:59
The chairman of Harvard University's chemistry department was arrested on charges of lying about receiving millions of dollars in Chinese funding, in an escalation of U.S. efforts to counter what officials said is a plot by Beijing to mine U.S. universities to catapult China to the forefront of scientific development.
A federal criminal complaint alleges that Charles Lieber, a pioneer in nanotechnology, misled the Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health about his participation in China's Thousand Talents Plan while the U.S. agencies were spending more than $15 million to fund his research group in the U.S.
Through its government-backed Thousand Talents Plan and hundreds of similar programs, China pays scientists around the world to moonlight at Chinese institutions, often without disclosing the work to their primary employers.
The case was one of three presented Tuesday by federal authorities in Massachusetts, with each underscoring U.S. concerns that the Chinese government is trying to obtain cutting-edge U.S. research by exploiting U.S. universities and their professors and researchers. Prosecutors have brought a series of cases charging Chinese Americans and Chinese nationals working in the U.S., prompting concern in the scientific community that authorities were racially profiling people. Mr. Lieber is among the first non-Chinese scientists and highest-profile targets to date.
As part of the Thousand Talents program, Wuhan University of Technology gave Mr. Lieber more than $1.5 million to set up a research lab in China, according to the complaint.
The school also agreed to pay him a $50,000 monthly salary and offered about $150,000 in annual living expenses for ''significant periods'' from 2012 to 2017, it said.
In exchange, Mr. Lieber was required to work for WUT at least nine months a year by ''declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and Ph.D. students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of'' the Chinese school, the complaint said.
While accepting foreign funding isn't illegal, U.S. authorities require such funds to be disclosed by researchers who apply for U.S. taxpayer-supported funding; U.S. officials said the Chinese programs create conflicts of interest and incentives to transfer intellectual property. Under a contract cited in the complaint, Mr. Lieber was obligated to ''conduct national important (key) projects...that meet China's national strategic development requirements or stand at the forefront of international science and technology research field.''
Mr. Lieber, 60 years old, appeared in court Tuesday and was remanded to federal custody pending a detention hearing set for Thursday.
In a separate indictment unsealed Tuesday, a researcher at Boston University was charged with acting as a Chinese government agent and failing to disclose that she was a lieutenant in the Chinese military when she applied for her visa.
Prosecutors also discussed the indictment last week of a Harvard-sponsored researcher accused of trying to smuggle biological research back to China.
''Chemistry, nanotechnology, polymer studies, robotics, computer science, biomedical research'--this is not an accident or a coincidence,'' said Andrew Lelling, the top federal prosecutor in Boston, referring to the science at issue in the cases. ''This is a small sample of China's ongoing campaign to siphon off American technology and know-how for Chinese gain.''
Mr. Lieber, who has been at Harvard since 1991, has been placed on administrative leave, and neither he nor his lawyer could be reached to comment.
His work helped develop ''bio-nanoelectronic sensors capable of detecting diseases down to the level of a single infectious virus particle,'' according to a citation from the Welch Foundation, which funds chemical research and recognized his work last year.
On his Lieber Research Group's website, Mr. Lieber says he is developing a mesh to be injected through a syringe into parts of the brain to better understand how the brain works and to treat disease and brain injury. The long-term goal is to enhance ''human performance via brain-machine interface.''
U.S. authorities have raised alarms about the talent programs.
''Failures to disclose the receipt of substantial resources, participation in certain types of programs, and dual employment distort decisions about the appropriate use of taxpayer funds and result in hidden transfers of information, know-how and time,'' said Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in a statement in response to the cases. His office is running an effort among federal agencies, the private sector, academia, professional societies and nonprofits to address the concerns.
Beijing has denied any systematic effort to steal U.S. scientific research, and Chinese state media have called U.S. allegations of intellectual-property theft a political tool.
When Defense Department investigators asked Mr. Lieber in 2018 about his foreign research collaborations, he told them he had never been asked to participate in the Thousand Talents Program, the complaint said. Two days later, Mr. Lieber instructed a colleague to send him a link to a webpage listing him as running the Wuhan lab. ''I will be careful about what I discuss with Harvard University, and none of this will be shared with government investigators at this time,'' he wrote, according to the complaint.
NIH also asked Harvard about Mr. Lieber's affiliation with Wuhan that same year, according to the complaint. The professor caused Harvard to falsely tell the NIH in January 2019 that Mr. Lieber had no formal affiliation with Wuhan after 2012, the complaint said.
The complaint cited emails from then into 2017 in which Mr. Lieber and his contact at Wuhan discussed how Mr. Lieber would be paid, with some of the funds from Wuhan to be deposited for him in a Chinese bank account and some provided in cash. ''Our university has put your salary in your'...[bank] card and we will help you change the cash for you when you come to Wuhan,'' the Wuhan contact wrote in one January 2017 message.
A Harvard spokesman said the university was cooperating with federal authorities and initiating its own review into the allegations.
U.S. officials have described what they view as a shift in Chinese intelligence priorities, moving from gathering broad swaths of expertise overseas to seeking specific pieces of technology that fill gaps in research being conducted at Chinese universities and designated as priorities by Beijing.
In the Boston University case outlined Tuesday, the researcher, Yanqing Ye, allegedly responded to direction from colleagues in the People's Liberation Army in China between 2017 and 2019 and researched U.S. military websites and two U.S. scientists with expertise in robotics and computer science.
In one April 2019 email, an unnamed co-conspirator and PLA member sent her a message that said: ''See if [we can] find projects in risk analysis and policy sponsored by the US military by searching risk + US military directly,'' the indictment said.
In an April 2019 WeChat message, she sent another unnamed co-conspirator a pdf file from a U.S. Navy website using the ''mil'' domain, the complaint said. The co-conspirator replied: ''Now a days, we can't connect to a link with mil top level domain from China...This is probably American taking precautions against us,'' the person replied, according to the complaint.
Ms. Ye, who is believed to be in China, couldn't be reached for comment. A Boston University spokesman said Ms. Ye left the university in April 2019 and that it would assist in the investigation.
In the third case prosecutors discussed Tuesday, Zaosong Zheng, a cancer researcher whose visa was sponsored by Harvard, was indicted last week on charges of smuggling stolen vials of biological research. Before he was about to board a December flight to Beijing, customs agents at Logan International Airport found 21 vials ''wrapped in plastic and hidden in a sock,'' the indictment said.
When agents asked Mr. Zheng if he had any research materials in his luggage, he said no, prosecutors alleged. He later acknowledged the vials and admitted he was planning to take them to China and publish the research in his own name, the indictment said. He is scheduled to be arraigned later this week. A lawyer for Mr. Zheng said: ''We are looking forward to a jury trial so our client can be found not guilty.''
The recent cases underscore the unusual nature of China's efforts, officials said.
''While we are still confronted with traditional spies...I can tell you China is also using what we call nontraditional collectors such as professors, researchers, hackers and front companies,'' said Joseph Bonavolonta, who runs the FBI's Boston office.
The people charged Tuesday ''are manifestations of the China threat,'' he said.
'--Douglas Belkin contributed to this article.
Write to Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com and Kate O'Keeffe at kathryn.okeeffe@wsj.com
Model minority - Wikipedia
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 21:06
A model minority is a demographic group (whether based on ethnicity, race or religion) whose members are perceived to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the population average. This success is typically measured relatively by income, education, low criminality and high family/marital stability.[1]
The concept is controversial, as it has historically been used to suggest there is no need for government action to adjust for socioeconomic disparities between certain groups.[2] This argument has most often been applied to contrast Asian Americans (both South and East Asians) against African Americans and Hispanic Americans in America, enforcing the idea that Asian Americans are good law-abiding, productive immigrants/citizens while promoting the stereotype that Hispanics and African Americans are criminally prone, welfare recipient immigrants/citizens.[3]
Generalized statistics are often cited to back up model minority status such as high educational achievement and a high representation in white-collar professions. A common misconception is that the affected communities usually hold pride in their labeling as the model minority. The model minority stereotype is considered detrimental to relevant minority communities because it is used to justify the exclusion of minorities in the distribution of assistance programs, both public and private, as well as to understate or slight the achievements of individuals within that minority. Furthermore, the idea of the model minority pits minority groups against each other by implying that non-model groups are at fault for falling short of the model minority level of achievement and assimilation.[4] The concept has also been criticized by outlets such as NPR for potentially homogenizing the experiences of Asian Americans on one side and Hispanics and African Americans on the other, despite the different groups experiencing racism in different ways.[5] It has been argued that the idea perpetuates the belief that any minority has the capability to rise economically without assistance and ignores the differences between the history of Asian Americans and African Americans, and sometimes Hispanics, in the United States.[6]
The concept of "model minority" is heavily associated with U.S. culture and is not extensively used outside the U.S., though many European countries have concepts of classism that stereotype ethnic groups in a similar manner to model minority.[7]
Background [ edit ] One of the earliest uses of the term model minority was in the 9 January 1966 edition of The New York Times Magazine by sociologist William Petersen to describe Asian Americans as ethnic minorities who, despite marginalization, have achieved success in the United States. In his essay called "Success Story: Japanese American Style", he wrote that the Japanese cultures have strong work ethics and family values. Furthermore, he wrote that those values prevent them from becoming a "problem minority". A similar article about Chinese Americans was published in U.S. News and World Report in December 1966.[8][9][10]
In the 1980s, almost all major U.S. magazines and newspapers printed success stories of Asian Americans.[11]: 222
However, in the 1970s and 1980s, many scholars challenged the model minority stereotype. B. Suzuki published "Education and the Socialization of Asian Americans: A Revisionist Analysis of the 'Model Minority Thesis". In the paper, he disagrees with how the media is portraying Asian Americans. He explains the sociohistorical background and the contemporary social system, and argues that the Model Minority stereotype is a myth.[12]: 3
Some have described the creation of the model minority theory as partially a response to the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement, when African Americans fought for equal rights and the discontinuation of racial segregation in the United States. In a backlash to the movement, white America presented and used Asian Americans to argue that African Americans could raise up their communities by focusing on education and accepting and conforming to racial segregation and the institutional racism and discrimination of the time period, as Asian Americans have arguably done.[13][14][15]
The model minority theory disregards the fact that Asian Americans at the time were also marginalized and racially segregated in America thus they also represented lower economic levels and faced many social issues just as other racial and ethnic minorities.[15] The possible reasons as to why Asian Americans were used by White America as this image of a model minority are that they were viewed as having not been as much of a "threat" to White America due to less of a history of political activism in fighting racism (until after the Civil Rights Movement, see Asian American movement), their smaller population, the success of their numerous businesses (nearly all of which were small businesses) in their segregated communities, and the fact that during the time period Chinese, Japanese and Filipino Americans' educational attainment level was meeting the national average equaling Whites in terms of education.[16]
Since the creation of the model minority stereotype, Asian Americans have now exceeded White Americans in terms of education as well as many other racial and ethnic groups in American society and as of 2012[update] Asian Americans (as a whole) have obtained the highest educational attainment level and median household income of any racial and ethnic demographic in the country, a position that African Immigrants and Americans born of those immigrants have now started to outperform in.[17][18]
Those who resisted the stereotype in the early stages back in the 1960s-1980's could not gain enough support to combat the stereotype, because of the stereotype's so-called "positive" connotations. This led many even within the Asian American community at the time to view it either as a welcomed positive stereotype in contrast to years of negative stereotypes, or as a euphemistic stereotype that was no more than a mere annoyance. They did not foresee the negative repercussions to come from this stereotype. Many critics point out that there are more positives than negatives that come with this stereotype while many others believe that there are just as many negatives that come with this stereotype as there are positives and that no stereotype regardless of how positive they try to be or how positive their connotations are should be regarded as a good stereotype. Scientific studies have revealed that positive stereotypes have many negative and damaging consequences both socially and psychologically.[19][20][21][22]
A few years after the article on Asian Americans being the model minority was published, Asian Americans formed their own movement that fought for their own equal rights and resolution of their own specific social issues, modeling it after the Civil Rights Movement thus effectively challenging White America and the social construct of racial discrimination.[23]
United States [ edit ] In the United States, the term was coined to first describe the socioeconomic success of Japanese Americans, although it has eventually evolved to become associated with American Jews and Asian Americans,[24][25] but more specifically with East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans)[26] and Indians.[27] The concept of a model minority has faced backlash from the Asian American community. According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, "the misperception that Asian Americans are doing fine on their own has serious policy implications ... politicians won't talk about our community's needs if they assume people don't require assistance." According to the Washington Post, since the 1960s, "the idea that Asian Americans are distinct among minority groups and immune to the challenges faced by other people of color is a particularly sensitive issue for the community, which has recently fought to reclaim its place in social justice conversations with movements like #ModelMinorityMutiny".[28]
Model minority stereotype [ edit ] There has been a significant change in the perceptions of Asian Americans. In as little as 100 years of American history, stereotypes of East Asian Americans have changed from them being viewed as poor uneducated laborers to being portrayed as a hard working and a well educated upper middle class minority.[29] As many White Americans erroneously assumed that their perseverance, strong work ethic, and general determination to succeed were extensions of their supposedly quiet natures, rather than common characteristics among most immigrants, Asian Americans came to be viewed as "model minorities".[30] Among South Asian Americans, an example of the model minority stereotype are phenomena such as the high rates of educational attainment and above average household incomes in the Indian American community. Pointing to generalized data, another argument for the model minority stereotype is generalized data such as from the United States Census Bureau, where the median household income of Asian Americans is $68,780, higher than the total population's $50,221.[31] Although some Asian American subgroups including East Asians and South Asians are economically successful, other Asian American subgroups such as Southeast Asian Americans which include Hmong, Laotians, Cambodians, and Vietnamese, are less socioeconomically successful.[32]
The model minority model also points to the percentage of Asian Americans at elite universities (elite university being roughly defined as a school in the Top 40 according to U.S. News and World Report.)[33] Model minority proponents claim that while Asian Americans are only 5% of the U.S. population, they are over-represented at all these schools. Additionally, Asian Americans go on to win a high proportion of Nobel Prizes.[34] Of the 20 American physicists to win a Nobel Prize in the 21st century, East Asian Americans, who represent less than 4 percent of the U.S. population, have won 15 percent of prizes.[34] Additionally, three science Nobel prizes have been won by Indian-Americans.[34]
Asian American students are concentrated in a very small percentage of institutions, in only eight states (and half concentrated in California, New York and Texas).[35] Moreover, as more Asian Americans become Americanized and assimilated, more Asian American students are beginning to attend two-year community colleges (363,798 in 2000) than four-year public universities (354,564 in 2000), and this trend of attending community college is accelerating.[35] Unsurprisingly, West Coast academic institutions are amongst those that have the highest concentrations of Asian Americans.
The most highly educated group of Asian immigrants are Indian.[32] The low numbers for Southeast Asians can be a bit misleading, as a large percent comes from adult immigrants who came to the United States without any college education due to war. For ages 25 to 34, 45% of Vietnamese-Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 39% of Non-Hispanic Whites.[36]
Due to the impacts of the Model minority stereotype, unlike other minority serving institutions, Asian American Pacific Islander serving institutions (AAPISI) did not receive federal recognition until 2007, with the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which federally recognized the existence of AAPISIs, making them eligible for federal funding and designation as minority serving institutions.[37]
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2003 report Crime in the United States, Asian Americans have the lowest total arrest rates[38] despite a younger average age, and high family stability.[39]
Bachelor's Degree or Higher[40]Household Income[40]Personal Income[40]EthnicityHousehold Income ($)Indian100,574Filipino82,389Sri Lankan73,856Japanese73,856British70,037Chinese67,128Syrian66,965Palestinian65,345Pakistani62,848Indonesian61,943European59,653Vietnamese59,405Korean58,573Arab55,117Lao53,655Thai53,468Bangladeshi44,512Afghani43,838Somali22,368EthnicityPersonal Income ($)British49,202Indian44,098Japanese43,132Lebanese38,971Sri Lankan37,363Chinese34,835Korean31,790Filipino31,289European30,682Arab28,854Thai27,276Pakistani26,739Vietnamese24,624Lao21,479Cambodian20,182Afghani18,516Bangladeshi18,027Hmong12,923Somali7,856Indian Americans [ edit ] The model minority label also includes South Asian communities, in particular, Indian Americans, because of their high socioeconomic success. But, Indian-Asians face a type of racism and discrimination, despite their Model Minority status, that other Asians do not face. One of the forms of this is discrimination based on religion; often times, Indians, specifically Sikhs, in America face racism that that is a result of mislabeling like being called Middle-Eastern or Muslim by the way they look, whether they actually identify with those groups, with Muslim Americans being markedly poorer than Hindu Americans.[42] The mass grouping of all different Asian ethnicities into one "positive" stereotype delegitimizes the problems that certain Asian immigrants face, because the majority might not face those same negative stereotypes.[43][44] Another result of the Model Minority status of Indian-Asians is their complacency, expressed more often than not. There is conflict within the Indian-Asian immigrant population in the US, as some exalt their "positive" minority status and wish to uphold it, resulting in complacency when attacked racially and even sometimes going as far as to support political candidates that are anti-immigration. The other side of the conflict is those who are affected by racial stereotypes and wish to change that fact instead of accepting it, who believe they should essentially give up their coveted status to stand with other ethnic and racial minority groups in activism against racism.[42]
According to the census report on Asian Americans issued in 2004 by the U.S. Census Bureau, 64% of Indian Americans had a bachelor's degree or higher, the second highest for all national origin groups. In the same census, 60% of Indian-Americans had management or professional jobs, compared with a national average of 33%.[45] Indian Americans, along with Japanese and Filipino Americans, have some of the lowest poverty rates for all communities, as well as one of the lowest rates of single parent households (7% versus the national average of 15%). Indian Americans also earn the highest average income out of all national origin/ethnic groups. This has resulted in several stereotypes such as that of the "Indian Doctor".[46]
It should however be noted that there are still pockets of poverty within the community, with around 8% classified as living in poverty.[36]
Taiwanese Americans [ edit ] Taiwanese Americans from all social backgrounds have achieved significant advances in their educational levels, income, life expectancy and other social indicators as the financial and socioeconomic opportunities offered by the United States have lifted many Taiwanese Americans out of poverty into the ranks of America's educated and upper middle class. Estimates indicate that a disproportionate percentage of Taiwanese students attend elite universities despite constituting less than 0.5% of the U.S. population. Taiwanese Americans have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing any other ethnic group in the country, according to U.S Census Bureau data released in 2010. According to the 2010 Labor Statistics from U.S. Census Bureau, 73.6% of all Taiwanese Americans have attained a bachelor's or high degree (compared to 28.2% nationally and 49.9% for all Asian American groups). 80.0% of Taiwanese American men attained a bachelor's degree and 68.3% of Taiwanese American women attained a bachelor's degree. 39.1% of all Taiwanese in the United States possess a master's, doctorate or other professional degree, which is nearly four times the national average.[47][48]
Issues faced by Southeast Asian Americans [ edit ] The experience of Southeast Asian American populations in the U.S. is cited as evidence that the model minority image is a myth.[49] Southeast Asian Americans consist of several ethnic groups, including Thai, Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao, Cambodian and Filipino. An empirical literature review[49][50] shows that most of the existing data used to justify the model minority image with Asian American academic achievement is aggregated and as a result, ignores important differences among individual Asian ethnic groups. Although many Asian Americans have succeeded academically and socioeconomically, survey research have shown that more recently immigrant groups, such as Southeast Asians, have been unable to replicate such success.[51] According to the U.S. Census in 2000, the overall U.S. population for people 25 years and over with less than a high school education was 19.6% and Asian Americans were close at 19.4%; however, disparities exist when comparing South and East Asian Americans with Southeast Asian Americans. Only 12.5% of Chinese Americans, 8.6% of Japanese Americans, and 14.6% of South Asian Americans that are 25 years or over have less than a high school education.[49] In contrast, Southeast Asian Americans more than double South and East Asian American percentages with 52% of Cambodian Americans, 59% of Hmong Americans, 49% of Lao Americans, and 38% of Vietnamese Americans ages 25 and over have less than a high school education.[49] Looking at higher education, the 2000 U.S. Census showed that 42.7% of Asian Americans ages 25 and over held a bachelor's degree or higher, which is higher than the national percentage of 25.9% of Americans overall.[49] In contrast, individual Southeast Asian American groups ages 25 and over that held a bachelor's degree or higher consist of 9.1% of Cambodian Americans, 7.4% of Hmong Americans, 7.6% of Lao Americans, and 19.5% of Vietnamese Americans.[49] With the exception of Vietnamese Americans, these proportions are lower than other racial minorities including African Americans (14.2%) and Latino Americans (10.3%).[49] As cited in an empirical literature review,[50] research that lacks differentiation between the varying Asian ethnic groups can mask under-performing groups by the higher performing groups. Generally speaking, Southeast Asian American students are overlooked due to the overwhelming success of their East and South Asian American peers.
As cited in a case study,[52] many of the deficits of Southeast Asian American students' academic achievement can be attributed to many structural barriers of living in an immigrant household. Many Southeast Asian American students are children of refugees from countries at war.[52] These refugees were forced to escape from their homes to avoid death and persecution; along the way, many witnessed the loss of family members and friends.[52] Those who survived often arrive in the U.S. with fragmented families and were faced with more barriers as they had to rely on government assistance and were placed in low-income communities near poorly funded schools.[52] As these families try to establish themselves in a new country with little to no understanding of the U.S. school system, Southeast Asian students are at a disadvantage having to quickly adjust to a new school system, while trying to keep up with native-born students.[52] Inside and outside the school systems, Southeast Asians were faced with discrimination.[52] These are examples of structural barriers that Southeast Asian American students are faced with.
However, not all is grim for Southeast Asian American students. Certain Southeast Asian ethnic groups have shown greater progress compared to others and resemble the success of other more established Asian Americans.[52] As cited a case study,[52] Vietnamese American students are beginning to show similar rates of academic success comparable to East Asian American students. Among Southeast Asian American students, Vietnamese American students are recognized as having the highest academic performance, whereas Cambodian American students have the poorest performance.[52] Among Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees, despite enduring similar immigration hardships, differences in academic success can be attributed to structural and cultural factors.[52]
The model minority stereotype and Black Americans [ edit ] Often overlooked is the direct contrast of Model Minorities with Black Americans. Model Minorities are used as a tool to discriminate against Black people with the mantra "If they can do it, why can't you?". This argument is often viewed as logical, because at the surface, there doesn't seem to be a clear cut explanation for why Jews, Asians, and Irish people are able to thrive after experiencing racism, but Blacks still seem to be disenfranchised.[53] What this argument often ignores, is the unique experience of Black people in America, namely, they are the only minority who had been enslaved on U.S. soil for centuries. Some scholars also explain the differing successes of Asian immigrants and Blacks on the specific types of racism they experience. Essentially racism in itself is not monolithic, and is perpetrated in different ways and different arenas of life, some arenas where anti-Black rhetoric exist prove to be more harmful to Black personhood than situations in which anti-Asian discrimination exists.[53]
Media portrayal [ edit ] Media coverage of the increasing success of Asian Americans as a group began in the 1960s, reporting high average test scores and marks in school, winning national spelling bees, and high levels of university attendance.
In 1988, the writer Philip K. Chiu identified the prevalence of the model minority stereotype in American media reports on Chinese Americans, and noted the contrast between that stereotype and what he observed as the reality of the Chinese American population, which was much more varied than the model minority stereotype in the media typically presented.[54]
I am fed up with being stereotyped as either a subhuman or superhuman creature. Certainly I am proud of the academic and economic successes of Chinese Americans ... But it's important for people to realize that there is another side. ... It is about time for the media to report on Chinese Americans the way they are. Some are superachievers, most are average citizens, and a few are criminals. They are only human'--no more and no less.
Possible causes of model minority status [ edit ] Selective immigration [ edit ] One possible cause of the higher performance of Asian Americans as a group is that they represent a small population in America so those who are chosen to move to America often come from a selective group of Asians. The relative difficulty of emigrating and immigrating into the United States has created a selective nature of the process with the U.S. often choosing the wealthier and more highly educated out of those with less resources, motivation or ability to immigrate.[28][55]
Cultural differences [ edit ] Cultural factors are thought to be part of the reason why East Asian Americans are successful in the United States. East Asian societies often place more resources and emphasis on education.[56] For example, Confucian tenets and Chinese culture places great value on work ethic and the pursuit of knowledge. In traditional Chinese social stratification, scholars were ranked at the top'--well above businessmen and landowners. This view of knowledge is evident in the modern lifestyle of many East Asian American families, where the whole family puts emphasis on education and parents will make it their priority to push their children to study and achieve high marks.[57] Similar cultural tendencies and values are found in South Asian American families,[58] whose children similarly face extra pressure by parents to succeed in school and to achieve high-ranked jobs. Although pressure is often perceived as a way to help East Asian American descendants achieve greater success, it can be used as a way to provide better income and living status for families.[59] In other words, much of the East Asian American success in the United States can be due to the stereotypical yet favorable characteristics that their background holds.[60] In most cases, East Asians such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese Americans hold a high position in terms of successful educational goals.[60]
Others counter this notion of culture as a driving force, as it ignores immigration policies.[55] In the mid 1800s in the United States, Asian immigrants were recruited as laborers for agriculture and to aid in the building of the first transcontinental railroad. Many worked for low wages in the harshest conditions. Confucian values were not seen as a key to success. It was only until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed the way Asians were seen, as Asians with higher education backgrounds were selectively chosen from a larger pool of the Asian population.[28][55]
Further, it has also been argued the myth of the Confucian emphasis on education is counterfactual. It also implies Asians are a monolithic group, and ignores the fact that the most educated group of Asian immigrants in the U.S. are Indians, for whom Confucius is non-existent in their upbringing.[28] It has also been argued that self-selecting immigrants do not represent the actual Asian American population as a whole, nor the populations of their home countries. While 50 percent of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. have a bachelor's degree, only 5 percent of the population does in their native China.[28] Lastly, if Confucian culture played a vital part of Asian culture, Chinese immigrant children would perform consistently around the world, yet second-generation Chinese immigrants are the lowest academic achievers among immigrant groups in Spain, less than half are expected to graduate from middle school.[28]
[ edit ] In the 1980s, one Ivy League school found evidence it had limited admissions of Asian American students. Because of their high degree of success as a group and over-representation in many areas such as college admissions, most Asian Americans are not granted preferential treatment by affirmative action policies as are other minority groups.[61]
Some schools choose lower-scoring applicants from other racial groups over Asian Americans in an attempt to promote racial diversity and to maintain some proportion to the society's racial demographics.[61][62]: 165
In 2014, American business schools began a process to sort candidates based on their country of origin and region of the world they come from.[63]
Effects of the stereotype [ edit ] According to Gordon H. Chang: The reference to Asian Americans as model minorities has to do with the work ethic, respect for elders, and high valuation of education, family and elders present in their culture. The model minority stereotype also comes with an underlying notion of their apoliticality. Such a label one-dimensionalizes Asian Americans as having only traits based around stereotypes and no other human qualities, such as vocal leadership, negative emotions (e.g. anger or sadness), sociopolitical activeness, risk taking, ability to learn from mistakes, desire for creative expression, intolerance towards oppression or being overlooked of their acknowledgements and successes. Asian Americans are labeled as model minorities because they have not been as much of a "threat" to the U.S. political establishment as blacks, due to a smaller population and less political advocacy. This label seeks to suppress potential political activism through euphemistic stereotyping.[64]
Another effect of the stereotype is that American society may tend to ignore the racism and discrimination Asian Americans still face. Complaints are dismissed with the claim that the racism which occurs to Asian Americans is less important than or not as bad as the racism faced by other minority races, thus establishing a systematic racial hierarchy. Believing that due to their success and that they possess so-called "positive" stereotypes, many[who? ] assume they face no forms of racial discrimination or social issues in the greater American society, and that their community is fine, having "gained" social and economic equality.[65][66][67]
Racial discrimination can take subtle forms such as through microaggression. The stereotyping of Asian Americans as a model minority and perfidious foreigner influences people's perceptions and attitudes towards Asians[68] and also negatively affects students' academic outcomes, relationships with others, and psychological adjustments. For instance, discrimination and model minority stereotyping are linked to Asian American students' lower valuing of school, lower self-esteem, and higher depressive symptoms.[69] Furthermore, the psychological distress of failing to meet the model minority image, such as feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, shame, and embarrassment, is exacerbated due to the differential treatment associated with being stereotyped as a model minority and perpetual foreigner.
Furthermore, the model minority image can be a threat to underachieving Asian American students' academic experience and educational advancement. It promotes invisibility and disguises the academic barriers and psychological problems students may encounter. This is problematic because it creates a barrier for educators to better understand and assist struggling students' educational and mental health needs in order to optimize students' academic experience and social emotional development.
Asian Americans may also be commonly stereotyped by the general public as being studious, intelligent, successful, elitist, brand name conscious, yet paradoxically passive. As a result, higher and unreasonable expectations are often associated with Asian Americans.[citation needed ] Also due to the model minority image, Asian American students are viewed as "problem-free" and academically competent students who can succeed with little support and without special services.[70] This emphasis that Asian Americans are being denial by their racial reality because of the assumption that "Asians are the new Whites"; therefore, they are being dismissed by their intelligence and experiences.[71] Thus, educators may overlook the instructional needs and psychological concerns of underachieving Asian American students. The model minority stereotype can also contribute to teachers' having a "blaming the victims" perspective. This means that teachers blame students, their culture, or their families for students' poor performance or misbehavior in school. This is problematic because it shifts responsibility away from schools and teachers and misdirects attention away from finding a solution to improve students' learning experience and alleviate the situation. Furthermore, the model minority stereotype has a negative impact on the home environment. Parents' expectations place high pressure on students to achieve, creating a stressful, school-like home environment. Parents' expressed worry and frustration can also place emotional burdens and psychological stress on students.[70]
Some educators hold Asian students to a higher standard.[11] This deprives those students with learning disabilities from being given attention that they need. The connotations of being a model minority mean Asian students are often labeled with the unpopular "nerd" or "geek" image.[11]: 223 Asians have been the target of harassment, bullying, and racism from other races due to the racially divisive model minority stereotype.[62]: 165
The higher expectations placed on East Asians as a result of the model minority stereotype carries over from academics to the workplace.[11]
The model minority stereotype is emotionally damaging to many Asian Americans, since there are unjustified expectations to live up to stereotypes of high achievement. The pressures from their families to achieve and live up to the model minority image have taken a tremendous mental and psychological toll on young Asian Americans.[72][73]
The model minority stereotype also influences Asian American students' psychological outcomes and academic experience. The model minority image can lead underachieving Asian American students to minimize their own difficulties and experience anxiety or psychological distress about their academic difficulties. Asian American students also have more negative attitudes toward seeking academic or psychological help[74] due to fear of shattering the high expectations of teachers, parents, and classmates.[75]
Overall, the model minority stereotype has negative effects on underachieving Asian students in both their home and school settings. It is a threat to Asian American students' academic experience and can disguise students' educational and mental health needs. Psychological distress from model minority stereotyping is related to the stressors associated with the pressure to succeed, differential treatment, and embarrassment or shame to seek help. With this information, a recommendation for schools is to promote a more inclusive and less competitive learning environment, so students will not be ashamed and afraid to ask for help. Administrators can also improve school climate by monitoring incidents of racial harassment and discrimination. Additionally, to better address struggling students' educational and mental health needs, educators can regularly check in with students and engage in culturally responsive teaching, aimed to understand students' unique circumstances and educational needs.
Invisible model minority: Africans [ edit ] African immigrants and Americans born to African immigrants have been described as an "Invisible Model Minority" mainly due to their high degree of success in the United States, but due to misconceptions and stereotypes[clarification needed ] of them, their success has not been acknowledged by the greater American society and other Western societies and thus they are "invisible".[76][77] The invisibility of the success of Africans was touched upon by Dr. Kefa M. Otiso, an academic professor from Bowling Green State University, who stated that "[B]ecause these immigrants come from a continent that is often cast in an unfavorable light in the U.S. media, there is a tendency for many Americans to miss the vital contribution of these immigrants to meeting critical U.S. domestic labor needs, enhancing American global economic and technological competitiveness".[78]
Education [ edit ] In the 2000 U.S. census, it was revealed that African Immigrants were the most educated immigrant group in the United States even when compared to Asian immigrants.[17][79] Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma.[17][80] This is more than double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans. According to the 2000 Census, the rate of college diploma acquisition is highest among Egyptian Americans at 59.7 percent, followed closely by Nigerian Americans at 58.6 percent.[81][82]
In 1997, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in the United States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult white Americans and 3.8 percent of adult black Americans in the United States.[17] According to the 2000 Census, the percentage of Africans with a graduate degree is highest among Nigerian Americans at 28.3 percent, followed by Egyptian Americans at 23.8 percent.[81][82]
Of the African-born population in the United States age 25 and older, 87.9% reported having a high school degree or higher,[83] compared with 78.8% of Asian-born immigrants and 76.8% of European-born immigrants, respectively.[84]
This success comes in spite of facts such as that more than 75 percent of the African foreign born in the United States have only arrived since the 1990s and that African immigrants make up a disportionately small percentage of immigrants coming to the United States such as in 2007 alone African immigrants made up only 3.7 percent of all immigrants in coming to the United States and again in 2009 they made up only 3.9 percent of all immigrants making this group a fairly recent to the United States diversity.[85][86]
Of the 8 percent of students at Ivy League schools that are black, a majority, about 50-66 percent, was made up of Black African immigrants, Caribbean immigrants, and American born to those immigrants.[76][77][87] Many top universities report that a disproportionate of the black student population consists of recent immigrants, their children, or were mixed race.[88]
Socioeconomics [ edit ] The overrepresentation of the highly skilled can be seen in the relatively high share of Black African immigrants with at least a four-year college degree. In 2007, 27 percent of the U.S. population aged 25 and older had a four-year degree or more; 10 percent had a master's, doctorate, or professional degree. Immigrants from several Anglophone African countries were among the best educated: a majority of Black Immigrants from Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe had at least a four-year degree. Immigrants from Egypt, where the official language is Arabic, were also among the best educated.[79] The overrepresentation of the highly skilled among U.S. immigrants is particularly striking for several ofAfrica's largest source countries. The United States was the destination for 59 percent of Nigeria's highly skilled immigrants along with 47 percent of those from Ghana and 29 percent from Kenya.[79]
The average annual personal income of African immigrants is about $26,000, nearly $2,000 more than that of workers born in the U.S. This might be because 71 percent of the Africans 16 years and older are working, compared to 64 percent of Americans. This is believed to be due larger percentage of African immigrants have higher educational qualifications than Americans, which results in higher per capita incomes for African immigrants and Americans born to African immigrants.[78]
Outside of educational success specific groups have found economic success and have made many contributions to American society such as Ugandan Americans. Recent statistics indicate that Ugandans have become one of the country's biggest contributors to the economy, their contribution, amounting to US$1 billion in annual remittances which are disproportionately large contributions despite a community and population of less than 13,000.[89][90]
African immigrants like many other immigrant groups are likely to establish and find success in small businesses. Many Africans that have seen the social and economic stability that comes from ethnic enclaves such as Chinatowns have recently been establishing ethnic enclaves of their own at much higher rates to reap the benefits of such communities.[91]
Demographically African Immigrants and Americans born of African immigrants tend to typically congregate in urban areas, moving to suburban areas over the next few generations as they try to acquire economic and social stability. They are also one of America's least likely groups to live in racially segregated areas.[92]
African Immigrants and Americans born of African immigrants have been reported as having some of the lowest crime rates in the United States and being one of the unlikeliest groups to go into or commit crime. African immigrants have even been reported to have lowered crime rates in neighborhoods in which they have moved into.[93]
Black immigrants from Black majority countries are revealed to be much healthier than Blacks from countries that are not majority Black and where they constitute a minority. Thus African immigrants are often much healthier than American-born Blacks and Black immigrants from Europe.[94]
Cultural factors [ edit ] Cultural factors have been proposed as an explanation for the success of African immigrants. For example, it is claimed they often integrate into American society more successfully and at higher rates than other immigrants groups due to social factors. One being that many African immigrants have strong English skills even before entering the U.S., many African nations, particularly former British colonies, use English as a lingua franca.[79] Because of this, many African immigrants to the U.S. are bilingual. Overall, 70 percent of Black African immigrants either speak English as their primary language or speak another language but are also fluent in English. Compare this to 48% proficiency in English for other immigrant groups.
Kefa M. Otiso has proposed another reason for the success of African immigrants, saying that they have a "high work ethic, focus and a drive to succeed that is honed and crafted by the fact that there are limited socioeconomic opportunities in their native African countries," says Otiso.[78]
Selective immigration [ edit ] Another possible cause of the higher performance of African immigrants as a group is that they represent a small population here in America so those who are chosen to come here often come from a selective group of African people. The relative difficulty of emigrating and immigrating into the United States has created a selective nature of the process with the U.S. often choosing the wealthier and more educated out of those with less resources, motivation or ability to immigrate.[79]
Americans born to African immigrants [ edit ] Despite African immigrants being highly educated many often find it hard to become employed in high level occupations. Most instead have to work in labor jobs to subsist and maintain a decent life.[citation needed ] Often it is left to their children to take up these higher positions. This desire to succeed is then transferred onto second generation African immigrants. These Americans often report that their families pushed them very hard to strive for success and overachieve in many aspects of society, especially education. African immigrants put a premium on education because of the limited socioeconomic opportunities they experienced in their native countries. Consequently, they often allocate more resources towards it.
This pushing of second generation African immigrants by their parents has proven to be the key factor in their success, and a combination of family support and the emphasis of family unit has given these citizens social and psychological stability which makes them strive even further for success in many aspects of their daily life and society.[95]
Many of these American groups have thus transplanted high cultural emphasis on education and work ethic into their cultures which can be seen in the cultures[95] of Algerian Americans, Kenyan Americans,[96] Sierra Leonean Americans,[97] Ghanaian Americans, Malawian Americans,[98] Congolese Americans,[99] Tanzanian Americans, and especially Nigerian Americans[100] and Egyptian Americans.[101]
African Immigrants [ edit ] Africans immigrants have experienced success in numerous countries especially Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, which have attracted many educated and highly skilled African immigrants with enough resources for them to start a new life in these countries.[79]
In the United Kingdom, one report has revealed that African immigrants have high rates of employment and that African immigrants are doing better economically than some other immigrant groups.[102] Africans have obtained much success as entrepreneurs, many owning and starting many successful businesses across the country.[103][104] Of the African immigrants, certain groups have become and are highly integrated into the country especially groups which have strong English language skills such as Zimbabweans or Nigerians, and they often come from highly educated and highly qualified backgrounds.[105][106] Many African immigrants have low levels of unemployment, and some groups are known for their high rates of self-employment, as can be seen in the case of Nigerian immigrants.[106] Certain groups outside of having strong English skills have found success mostly because many who immigrated to the UK are already highly educated and highly skilled professionals who come with jobs and positions such as business people, academics, traders, doctors and lawyers as is the case with Sudanese immigrants.[107]
As of 2013, Nigerian immigrants were among the nine immigrant populations that were above average academically in the UK.[108] Euromonitor International for the British Council suggests that the high academic achievement by Nigerian students is mainly from most of the pupils already having learned English in their home country. Additionally, many of them hail from the wealthier segments of Nigerian society, which can afford to pursue studies abroad.[109] A notable example of the highly educated nature of British Nigerians is the case of Paula and Peter Imafidon, nine-year-old twins who are the youngest students ever to be admitted to high school in England. Nicknamed the 'Wonder Twins', the twins and other members of their family have accomplished incredible rare feats, passing advanced examinations and being accepted into institutions with students twice their age.[110]
Israel [ edit ] In Israel, Christian Arabs are one of the most educated groups. Maariv has described the Christian Arab sectors as "the most successful in education system",[111] since Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.[112] and they have attained a bachelor's degree and academic degree more than the median Israeli population.[112]
Arab Christians [ edit ] Education [ edit ] According to the study "Are Christian Arabs the New Israeli Jews? Reflections on the Educational Level of Arab Christians in Israel" by Hanna David from the University of Tel Aviv, one of the factors why Israeli Arab Christians are the most educated segment of Israel's population is the high level of the Christian educational institutions. Christian schools in Israel are among the best schools in the country, and while those schools represent only 4% of the Arab schooling sector, about 34% of Arab university students come from Christian schools,[114] and about 87% of the Israeli Arabs in the high tech sector have been educated in Christian schools.[115][116] A 2011 Maariv article described the Christian Arab sector as "the most successful in the education system",[111] an opinion supported by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics and others who point out that Christian Arabs fared best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.[112]
High school and matriculation exams [ edit ] The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics noted that when taking into account the data recorded over the years, Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.[117] In 2016 Christian Arabs had the highest rates of success at matriculation examinations, namely 73.9%, both in comparison to Muslim and Druze Israelis (41% and 51.9% respectively), and to the students from the different branches of the Hebrew (majority Jewish) education system considered as one group (55.1%).[118][119]
Higher education [ edit ] Christian Arabs are one of the most educated groups in Israel.[120][121] Statistically, Christian Arabs in Israel have the highest rates of educational attainment among all religious communities, according to a data by Israel Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, 63% of Israeli Christian Arabs have had college or postgraduate education, the highest of any religious and ethno-religious group.[122] Despite the fact that Arab Christians only represent 2.1% of the total Israeli population, in 2014 they accounted for 17.0% of the country's university students, and for 14.4% of its college students.[123] There are more Christians who have attained a bachelor's degree or higher academic degrees than the median Israeli population.[112]
The rate of students studying in the field of medicine was higher among Christian Arab students than that of all other sectors.[124] and the percentage of Arab Christian women who are receiving higher education is also higher than that of other groups.[111]
In 2013, Arab Christian students were also the vanguard in terms of eligibility for higher education,[112] as the Christian Arab students had the highest rates of receiving Psychometric Entrance Test scores which eligible them to be accepted into universities, data from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics show that 61% of Christian Arabs were eligible for university studies, compared to 50% of Jewish, 45% of Druze, and 35% of Muslim students.[125]
Socio-economic [ edit ] In terms of their socio-economic situation, Arab Christians are more similar to the Jewish population than to the Muslim Arab population.[126] They have the lowest incidence of poverty and the lowest percentage of unemployment which is 4.9% compared to 6.5% among Jewish men and women.[127] They have also the highest median household income among Arab citizens of Israel and second highest median household income among the Israeli ethno-religious groups.[128] Also Arab Christians have a high presentation in science and in the white-collar professions.[129] In Israel Arab Christians are portrayed as a hard working and upper middle class educated ethno-religious minority.
Canada [ edit ] In Canada, Asian Canadians are somewhat viewed as a model minority, though the phenomenon is not as widespread as it is in the United States. The majority of this is aimed toward the East Asian and South Asian communities.[130][131][132]
Mexico [ edit ] Due to their business success and cultural assimilation, German Mexicans and Lebanese Mexicans are seen as model minorities in Mexico.[citation needed ] More recently, Haitians in Tijuana have been seen as model immigrants[133][134] and have been contrasted with Central American migrants.[133][134]
German Mexicans [ edit ] In the 19th and early 20th century, German immigration was encouraged due to the perceived industriousness of Germans. German Mexicans were instrumental in the development of the cheese and brewing industries in Mexico.[135] Germans in the Soconusco were successful in the coffee industry.
Lebanese Mexicans [ edit ] Although Lebanese Mexicans made up less than 5% of the total immigrant population in Mexico during the 1930s, they constituted half of the immigrant economic activity.[136] Carlos Slim, one of the richest individuals in the world,[137] is the topmost example of Lebanese Mexican success.
Haitians in Tijuana [ edit ] Due to their work ethic and integration into Tijuana society, Haitians are seen favorably by Tijuanenses.[138]
France [ edit ] French Vietnamese [ edit ] Vietnamese in France are the most well-established overseas Vietnamese community outside eastern Asia as well as Asian ethnic group in France. While the level of integration among immigrants and their place in French society have become prominent issues in France in the past decade, French media and politicians generally view the Vietnamese community as a model minority.[139] This is in part because they are represented as having a high degree of integration within French society as well as their economic and academic success. A survey in 1988 asking French citizens which immigrant ethnic group they believe to be the most integrated in French society saw the Vietnamese being ranked fourth, only behind the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese communities.[139]
The educational attainment rate of the Vietnamese population in France is the highest among overseas Vietnamese populations, a legacy that dates back to the colonial era of Vietnam, when privileged families and those with connections to the colonial government often sent their children to France to study.[139] In addition to high achievements in education, the Vietnamese population in France is also largely successful in economic terms. When the first major wave of Vietnamese migrants arrived in France during World War I, a number already held professional occupations in their new country shortly after their arrival. More recently, refugees who arrived in France after the Fall of Saigon are often more financially stable than their counterparts who settled in North America, Australia and the rest of Europe, due to better linguistic and cultural knowledge of the host country, which allowed them to enter the education system and/or higher paying professions with little trouble.[140] Within a single generation, median income for French-born Vietnamese has risen to above the French median income.[140]
French Laotians [ edit ] Similarly to the Vietnamese, the Laotian community in France is among one of the most well integrated into the country and is the most established overseas Laotian populace.[141] Unlike their counterparts in North America and Australia, Laotians in France have a high rate of educational success and are well-represented in the academic and professional sectors, especially among the generations of French-born Lao.[142] Due to better linguistic and cultural knowledge of the host country, Laotian immigrants to France, who largely came as refugees after the end of the Laotian Civil War, were able to have a high rate of assimilation.
Germany [ edit ] In Germany the academic success of people of Vietnamese origin has been called "Das vietnamesische Wunder"[143] ("The Vietnamese Miracle"). A study revealed that in the Berlin districts of Lichtenberg and Marzahn, both in former East Berlin and possessing a relatively small percentage of immigrants, Vietnamese account for only 2% of the general population, but make up 17% of the prep school population.[144] Another note of Vietnamese Germans' academic success is that even though they can grow up in poverty in places like East Germany, they usually outperform their peers by a wide margin.[145]
Another group in Germany that is extremely academically successful and is comparable to that of a model minority are Korean Germans, 70% of whom attended a Gymnasium (which is comparable to a prep school in American society), compared to Vietnamese Germans with only 50% attending a Gymnasium.[143][146] Also, over 70% of second-generation Korean Germans hold at least an Abitur or higher educational qualification, more than twice the ratio of the rest of Germany.[147]
Burma [ edit ] This section
needs expansion.
You can help by adding to it. ( May 2013 )In Burma, Gurkhas of Nepalese descent are viewed as a model minority. Gurkhas place a high importance on education, and they represent a disproportionately high share of those with advanced (medical, engineering or doctorate) degrees in Burma.[148][149]
New Zealand [ edit ] In New Zealand, Asian New Zealanders are viewed as a model minority due to attaining above average socio-economic indicators than the New Zealand average, though the phenomenon remains small, underground, and not as widespread compared with their American counterparts[citation needed ]. In a study of a popular New Zealand newspaper, articles "never portrayed the Chinese as a model minority that silently achieves" and this was "not in line with overseas research, suggesting that this stereotype merits further analysis".[150]
Netherlands [ edit ] Background [ edit ] At the end of the colonial era of the Dutch East Indies (now: Indonesia), a community of about 300,000 Indo-Europeans (people of mixed Indonesian and European heritage) was registered as Dutch citizens. Indos formed the vast majority of the European legal class in the colony. When in the second half of the 20th century the independent Republic of Indonesia was established, the majority of Europeans, including the Indo-Europeans,[151] were expelled from the newly established country.
Repatriation [ edit ] From 1945 to 1949 the Indonesian National Revolution turned the former Dutch East Indies into an increasingly hostile environment for Indo-Europeans. Violence aimed towards Indo-Europeans during its early Bersiap period (1945''1946) accumulated in almost 20,000 deaths.[152] The Indo diaspora continued up to 1964 and resulted in the emigration of practically all Indo-Europeans from a turbulent young Indonesian nation. Even though most Indos had never set foot in the Netherlands before, this emigration was named repatriation.
Notwithstanding the fact that Indos in the former colony of the Dutch East Indies were officially part of the European legal class and were formally considered to be Dutch nationals, the Dutch government practiced an official policy of discouragement with regard to the post-WWII repatriation of Indos to the Netherlands.[153] While Dutch policy was in fact aimed at stimulating Indos to give up Dutch citizenship and opt for Indonesian citizenship, simultaneously the young Indonesian Republic implemented policies increasingly intolerant towards anything remotely reminiscent of Dutch influence. Even though actual aggression against Indos decreased after the extreme violence of the Bersiap period, all Dutch (language) institutions, schools and businesses were gradually eliminated and public discrimination and racism against Indos in the Indonesian job market continued. In the end 98% of the original Indo community repatriated to their distant fatherland in Europe.[154]
Integration [ edit ] In the 1990s and early 21st century the Netherlands was confronted with ethnic tension in a now multi-cultural society. Ethnic tensions, rooted in the perceived lack of social integration and rise of crime rates of several ethnic minorities, climaxed with the murders of politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and film director Theo van Gogh in 2004. In 2006 statistics show that in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the country, close to 50% of the inhabitants were of foreign descent. The Indo community however is considered the best integrated ethnic and cultural minority in the Netherlands. Statistical data compiled by the CBS shows that Indos belong to the group with the lowest crime rates in the country.[155]
A CBS study of 1999 reveals that of all foreign born groups living in the Netherlands, only the Indos have an average income similar to that of citizens born in the Netherlands. Job participation in government, education and health care is similar as well. Another recent CBS study, among foreign born citizens and their children living in the Netherlands in 2005, shows that on average, Indos own the largest number of independent enterprises. A 2007 CBS study shows that already over 50% of first-generation Indos have married a native born Dutch person. A percentage that increased to 80% for the second generation.[156][157] One of the first and oldest Indo organisations that supported the integration of Indo repatriates into the Netherlands is the Pelita foundation.[158]
Although Indo repatriates,[159] being born overseas, are officially registered as Dutch citizens of foreign descent, their Eurasian background puts them in the Western sub-class instead of the Non-Western (Asian) sub-class.
Two factors are usually attributed to the essence of their apparently seamless assimilation into Dutch society: Dutch citizenship and the amount of 'Dutch cultural capital', in the form of school attainments and familiarity with the Dutch language and culture, that Indos already possessed before migrating to the Netherlands.[160]
New generations [ edit ] Although third- and fourth-generation Indos[161] are part of a fairly large minority community in the Netherlands, the path of assimilation ventured by their parents and grandparents has left them with little knowledge of their actual roots and history, even to the point that they find it hard to recognise their own cultural features. Some Indos find it hard to grasp the concept of their Eurasian identity and either tend to disregard their Indonesian roots or on the contrary attempt to profile themselves as Indonesian.[162] In recent years however the reinvigorated search for roots and identity has also produced several academic studies.[154][156][163][164][165]
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(1989). "The intelligence of Korean children adopted in Belgium". Personality and Individual Differences. 10 (12): 1323''1325. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(89)90246-8. Hartlep, N. (2013). The Model Minority Stereotype: Demystifying Asian American Success. Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62396-358-3.Hartlep, N. (2014). The Model Minority Stereotype Reader: Critical and Challenging Readings for the 21st Century. Cognella Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62131-689-3.Hartlep, N., & B. J. Porfilio (eds). (2015). Killing the Model Minority Stereotype: Asian American Counterstories and Complicity. Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1681231105.Hsu, Madeline Y. The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton University Press, 2015). xvi, 335 pp.Li, Guofang; Lihshing Wang (July 10, 2008). Model Minority Myth Revisited: an Interdisciplinary Approach to Demystifying Asian American Educational Experiences. Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59311-951-5.Marger, Martin N. 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The Mad Geopolitics of Israel's EastMed Gas Pipeline
Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:05
The Mad Geopolitics of Israel's EastMed Gas Pipeline By F. William Engdahl19 January 2020 Image Credit: Adam Hegazy337259 - Map of the EastMed proposed pipeline - License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license with conditions https://bit.ly/2R8NCiY
At just a time when the world holds its collective breath over risk of a World War over the US assassination of Iran's leading general and other provocations, Israel has chosen to sign a natural gas pipeline deal with Greece and Cyprus that is the equivalent of tossing a loaded hand grenade into the hyper-tense region.
Until some months ago it was doubtful whether Israel's long-touted EastMed gas pipeline deal with Cyprus and Greece would see the light of day. Despite being backed by the US and the EU as an alternative to Russian gas, the EastMed as it is known, is dubious on many grounds, not the least its high cost compared with alternatives. The January 2 signing by the governments of Israel, Greece and Cyprus is directly connected to provocative moves by Turkey's Erdogan to conspire with Libya to illegally declare almost all of the Eastern Mediterranean waters to be a Turkish and now Libyan Exclusive Economic Zone.
If Mideast tensions were not already at the breaking point, the Israeli move throws a huge monkey wrench into the region's troubled geopolitics.
As recently as December, 2019 the Israeli companies involved in their offshore Leviathan gas field were openly discussing further options for export of the gas following an export agreement with Egypt and Jordan. The EastMed pipeline was not mentioned in Israeli media.
What has changed the situation was the announcement by Turkey's President Erdogan that he was sending Turkish troops to defend the Tripoli UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli of Fayez al Sarraj, on their request, to counter the forces of General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA).
Libya has the potential to become a major new explosion point in the rapidly-deteriorating Middle East terrain. Haftar is backed by Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and yes, France, and secretly since 2017 by Israel. Since April 2019 Haftar has been moving to take Tripoli from his stronghold in the oil-rich east. The GNA in Tripoli in turn is backed by Turkey, Qatar and Italy. The EU is desperately trying to mediate a truce between the GNA and Haftar after Putin failed some days ago.
The Mediterranean energy clashes
As Cyprus has discovered rich offshore fields of natural gas in addition to those of Israel at Leviathan, Turkey, who so far lacks its own major gas resources, began to aggressively interfere in Cyprus offshore waters. On January 1, 2020 Turkey and Russia opened the Black Sea Russian TurkStream with first deliveries of gas to EU member Bulgaria.
On December 11, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut ‡avuşoğlu hinted that Ankara could use its military to prevent gas drilling in waters off Cyprus that it now claims. ''No one can do this kind of work without our permission,'' he said. Since early 2019 Turkish ships have entered Cyprus exclusive waters claiming rights to drill. In December 2019, the Turkish navy intercepted Bat Galim, an Israeli ship in Cypriot waters and forced it to move out of the area. The ship was of the Israeli Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institution, doing research in Cyprus's territorial waters in coordination with Cypriot officials. The US State Department warned Turkey to back off and the EU imposed sanctions on Turkish persons, to little effect so far.
Turkey's recent interest in Libya is directly related to blocking Cyprus gas exploration and declaring vast Turkish offshore space legal for its drilling ships.
On November 27, 2019 Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a bilateral agreement on maritime boundaries in the southeastern Mediterranean. It would redraw existing recognized sea boundaries to give Libya exclusive rights for some 39,000 square kilometers of maritime waters belonging to Greece. The new joint zone of Tripoli-Turkey runs directly between the both countries and completely ignores the fact it violates Greek waters off Crete. Conveniently, it would cut directly across the planned Israel-Cyprus-Greece EastMed pipeline route. Without Turkey's approval, Turkey has suggested the Greek EastMed pipeline would be a non-starter.
The ongoing war between Haftar and Tripoli's GNA becomes even more complex, as Israel is also backing Haftar who now controls Benghazi and much of Tobruk along the Mediterranean coastline. Since 2017 the Israeli military have secretly been supporting Haftar in his attempt to gain control of Libya.
The EastMed Project
The just signed agreement between Israel, Greece and Cyprus is more fantasy than reality at this point. It calls for a hugely expensive $7 billion 1,900 km (1,180 mile) subsea pipeline, ''the longest and deepest gas pipeline in the world,'' that should initially bring up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and ultimately to Italy. That would amount to roughly 4% of total EU gas consumption, far less than Russia's present 39% share, let alone Gazprom's increased share once NordStream 2 and TurkStream are fully completed in the coming months. TurkStream, where the first of two pipelines opened on January 1, 2020, will supply a total of more than 31 bcm, with half available for the EU gas market and NordStream2 will add another 55 bcm annually to the EU gas market.
It has been ten years since gas was discovered at Israel's Leviathan. The first gas deliveries only began early this month to Egypt and to Jordan leaving 80% available for export following numerous delays. However prospects of finding finance for the huge project are grim at best. The EU, while greeting a rival to Russian gas, has made clear it has no money for the project. Greece financing is hardly possible after the 2010 Greek crisis and Cyprus is similarly depleted after its 2013 banking crisis. According to a statement from the Israeli Finance Ministry it will be financed by ''private companies and institutional lenders.'' To find private financing for such a politically risky undertaking at a time of growing risk aversion in finance is dubious. With a current glut of gas on the world market and the increasing availability of LNG sources it is not at all clear that a politically risky Israeli EastMed undersea pipeline makes economic sense.
Notably, Greek state television channel ERT refers to the EastMed project as a ''protective shield against Turkish provocations.'' That makes clear Greece sees it as a response to the recent rapprochement between Turkey and the government in Libya and Erdogan's announcement he is sending troops to support the GNA in Tripoli to make pressure against Haftar. Were Haftar to ultimately take Tripoli, clearly the Turkish-Libya bilateral agreement on maritime boundaries would be repealed.
As if the conflict was not already messy enough, the Greek government just announced that it is willing to send Greek troops in order to monitor the ceasefire between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The offer was put forward after Greek Foreign Minister Dendias met with LNA leader General Khalifa Haftar. This potentially pits NATO member Greece against NATO member Turkey in the widening geopolitical power plays over control of Eastern Mediterranean and other gas flows to the EU. And the prospect of a revived Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline has not even entered the calculus.
The EastMed gas pipeline of Israel, far from being a positive energy alternative, is rather a geopolitical intervention into an already conflicted region adding new levels of tension that only increase prospects for military escalation on all sides.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine''New Eastern Outlook''
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